Being ready means having your own plan in place for an emergency or failure of essential services that we take for granted. Find out more about how to get ready:

If you have a smart phone, you can also download the Red Cross Hazard App which can help you and your family prepare for and respond to hazards, whether you are here in Hawke's Bay or somewhere else in New Zealand

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Phones & Communication in an emergency

As phone networks in NZ are constantly being upgraded, here is what you need to remember about telecommunications in an disaster:

Mobile - "SMS in times of distress"

  1. Txt instead of call: It uses less power and bandwidth. All mobile cellular phone sites are backed up by batteries, but these will fail after some time if their power supply is not restored. Cell sites have a high priority during an event but it depends on the event as to whether access is available. When disaster strikes, networks can also be knocked out by increased call volume, so limit your txts and avoid voice calls unless essential.
  2. Conserve your battery power: Turn the phone off over night. Stop searching for a signal. Switch the vibrate function off. Keep calls short.
  3. Have different ways to charge your phone: You can use a dynamo radio to charge some phones, or you can use your car to charge your phone.


  1. If you have a copper circuit to your house then an analogue phone will work when the power is off.
  2. If you have a fibre connection to your house and the power goes off your phone will stop working as well. If your house hold has a generator and had it working then the phone would work as well. If your phone is derived straight off the exchange then your copper circuit will continue to work while the exchange is backed up by the engine generator. If your copper circuit is fed from a cabinet derived off an exchange, then your service will continue to work whilst the batteries hold charge at that cabinet.

While telecommunication companies will endeavour to keep their networks working in an emergency and cabinets have a high priority to keep functioning, after a disaster, like an earthquake, some outages are likely. A lot of NZ businesses have PABX or VOIP type circuits which should be backed up by batteries or generators or they will fail during a power outage.

Here is a link to MPI who has resources available for different types of adverse events, which include natural disasters, severe weather, and biosecurity incursions.