Prepare to ShakeOut

At 9.26am on Wednesday September 26 more than a million people will participate in the earthquake drill New Zealand ShakeOut.

Wherever we are, at home, work or school, inside or outside, we’re being asked to join in and practise the drill:  “Drop, Cover and Hold”.

That’s what we’re meant to do in an earthquake.

Rural Support Trusts have a message for farmers:

Stop for a moment and think – if there had just been a major earthquake:

  • Are your family and staff safe?
  • If you have lost services or infrastructure, are you able to keep your farm operating?

Following the 2010 Darfield earthquake some properties did not have power for up to a week. Also, rotary dairy platforms were knocked off their mountings, grain silos collapsed, and reticulated water systems were damaged. In the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake, milk silos at the dairy factory collapsed. The 1968 Inangahua earthquake saw all roads out of the area blocked.

“The priority for restoring services such as electricity and telephone service is likely to go to the areas of highest population first,” says Lindsay Wright of the Southland Rural Support Trust. “This means that the more remote rural areas may have to wait several days for restoration of services. If the roads are blocked, then maybe longer.”

Rural Support Trusts are asking farmers to take the opportunity during the Shakeout event to consider their readiness, response and recovery plans should such an event occur in their area.

Until a couple of years ago the need for awareness and preparation might have been considered to be academic.

The Canterbury earthquakes taught us it isn’t.

Wherever we are we need to know what to do. In the country especially we need to be prepared to look after ourselves and our neighbours in case help can’t get to us or emergency services have higher priorities in more densely populated places.

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