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Image for the Earthquakes page.
This page contains information about what to do in the event of an earthquake.
Updated: 7/06/2012 2:56 p.m.


Hundreds of earthquakes occur in New Zealand each year. A few cause damage and injury. A severe earthquake can occur at any time.

Before an earthquake occurs

  • DO secure heavy furniture to the wall or floor
  • DO place heavy items near the floor
  • DO put strong catches on cupboards
  • DO check that your chimney is secure
  • DO secure your hot water cylinder
  • DO check your household insurance
  • DON'T put chemical cleaner in the toilet cistern. This will poison a potential source of drinking water.

What to do in a building

  • take cover under a table or brace yourself in a doorway
  • do not attempt to run outside
  • if you are in a lift, stop it at the nearest floor and get out
  • do not look for your pets until shaking ceases.

What to do outside

In a high rise area:

  • take cover in a doorway
  • do not run into the street.

If you are driving:

  • slow down, pull over to the side of the road and stop
  • stay in the vehicle. It will provide some cover.

After an earthquake

  • check those around you and help them if necessary
  • make sure that someone reports the damage in your area to the nearest Civil Defence Centre
  • put out small fires. Evacuate the building if the fires cannot be controlled
  • turn on your radio
  • if your property is damaged, try to take notes of damage for the loss adjustor
  • do not go sightseeing.




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