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In an earthquake “Drop, Cover and Hold.” 

Hawke's Bay is one of the most seismically active regions in New Zealand, with active fault lines both inland and offshore. Initially in an earthquake, "Drop, Cover, and Hold", drop down on your hands and knees, cover you head and neck, and hold onto your shelter or position until the shaking stops, then if you live in a tsunami zone and the earthquake is "Long or Strong, Get Gone" and self-evacuate. 

Be prepared in an emergency by having a grab bag and emergency supplies at home, taking steps to make your house more secure, and knowing and practicing what to do in an earthquake and what to do afterwards. Earthquakes happen without warning, the below steps outline what you can do to prepare before, during and after a large earthquake, alongside the associated hazards and scientific information. You can check the hazards where you live, work, and play by visiting our hazards map portal.

Before an earthquake

During an earthquake, Drop, Cover and Hold - Prior to an earthquake practice this to make it your automatic response when an earthquake occurs. Think about your surroundings and what you could do to make the spaces around you safter to Drop, Cover and Hold in.

Often where we spend the majority of our time in are familiar places, such as our homes, work, or schools, consider ways you can make these spaces safer. Identify places up to a few steps away that you could use to avoid falling debris, such as under a strong table, next to an interior wall away from windows.

It is important to be prepared - Prepare a small carriable backpack that has essential goods such as water, long lasting food, and warm/waterproof clothing that you can quickly grab if you have to leave. You can find out more information here

You should also prepare emergency supplies at home, such as a supply of water and food. You can find out more information here

If you have a disability or mobility assistance needs, how you Drop, Cover and Hold could be different - If you use a cane or walking stick, get as low as possible, Drop, Cover, and Hold, or sit in a chair or bed and cover your head and neck with both hands. If you use a wheelchair or walker, lock your wheelchair wheels, or get as low as possible with your walker, bend down and cover your head and neck.

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Being prepared extends to taking steps to make your home safer - These key steps you could do in your home to help prevent damage to property and injury from earthquakes.

  • Secure heavy furniture to the floor and walls
  • Making sure that heavy items are not above head height.
  • Ensure cabinets have secure latches to prevent them opening and spilling their contents.
  • Think about where you, your family and your pets sleep or rest, and keep them as safe as possible by securing objects that might fall on them.
  • Have insurance and review your level of cover regularly.

During an earthquake.

During an earthquake - Drop, Cover and Hold.

This stops you from being knocked over, helps to make you a smaller target for falling objects, and protects your head, neck, and vital organs. If an earthquake occurs at night stay in bed, with your bedding/pillow over your head and neck, you will be less likely to be injured if you stay in bed.

Stay inside during an earthquake - In a major earthquake, masonry and glass falls off buildings and into the streets. If you are inside, Drop, Cover and Hold – do not run outside or you could risk getting hit by falling bricks or concrete and glass. Stay inside, it is safer than going outside, where masonry and glass could fall on you, only leave after the shaking if the building is showing obvious signs of distress, or you are in a tsunami evacuation zone.

If you are outside, move away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold - Stay in place in the drop, cover and hold position until the shaking stops. Be careful around lose masonry, downed power lines and other potential damage. If you are driving a car, pull over, stop, and stay there with your seatbelt on until the earthquake stops.

 After an earthquake.

If you are in the Tsunami Zone and the earthquake was Long or Strong, Get Gone.

Leave immediately to high ground or as far inland as possible, remember that every step out of the tsunami zone counts.

After an earthquake - First check yourself and those around you for injuries and get first aid if necessary and check on your neighbours and anyone who might need your help.

Do not run outside unless the building is showing obvious signs of distress, or you are in a tsunami evacuation zone. It is frightening to stay in a building, but it is much safer than immediately going outside, where masonry and glass could fall on you.

If you can, put on protective clothing that covers your arms and legs, and sturdy footwear, this is to protect yourself from injury by broken objects. Then turn off water, electricity and gas if advised to.

Following an earthquake there is likely to be aftershocks - each time an aftershock occurs you should Drop, Cover and Hold. Following an earthquake avoid damaged buildings and potentially falling debris. 

Following an earthquake try to keep control of your pets - If you have a cage or crate, put your animals inside, to protect them from hazards and protect other people from your animals. Animals react in different ways to earthquakes. You can read more on caring for animal with this information from MPI.

You can stay up to date with information after an earthquake - listen to our recommended radio stations, follow Hawkes Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management on Facebook, and through our website. After an event try to use social media or text messages instead of calling to keep phone lines clear for emergency calls and have a plan of where you and your family may gather following an event. 


Risk of an earthquake in Hawke's Bay

There is a chance of an earthquake every year, the best advice will always be to be prepared, practice "Drop, Cover and Hold" and both have a plan and a grab bag. 

Hawke’s Bay is one of the most seismically active regions of New Zealand, experiencing many smaller earthquakes each year, but another large earthquake could also occur at any time. Earthquakes cause the ground to shake, intense vibration cause crevices and cracks to open up, some areas of land drop, lift, or tilt. 

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