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Fires and Hazardous Substances

If you see smoke or fire and believe there is a risk to people or property, call 111 immediately and ask for 'Fire'.

FiresFire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) are the lead agency for either a fire or hazardous substance emergency, they will take the operational lead during any response. Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management may provide support during a response. Both fire and hazardous substance emergencies can have major impacts on both people and property, see below for information you should know before and during either a fire or hazardous substance emergency.

For more information see Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Keep informed - News outlets, the FENZ website, and signage around the region will alert people to the fire risk. The fire weather index system also provides up-to-date weather information about fire danger. You can also follow Hawke’s Bay – Fire and Emergency on Facebook.

Get prepared for a fire emergency – Try to reduce the fire risk around your property, make sure you regularly check the batteries in your smoke alarms, and have a clear route to evacuate your home. Before you light a fire check if any fire restrictions are in place.

Get prepared for a hazardous substance emergency - If you use hazardous substances/chemicals; identify, name, and correctly store them. Appropriately dispose of old chemicals, or those that cannot be identified. Follow more advice from FENZ Hazardous substances | Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Advice for rural properties – If you live in a rural setting you may need to do more to protect your home from outdoor fires, see - Protect your home from outdoor fires | Fire and Emergency New Zealand

If you discover a fire - Call 111

When reporting a fire - Describe the best access to the fire and have someone out on the road to direct fire trucks or use a parked vehicle with hazard lights activated as a marker. This is especially important in rural areas.

Fire following an earthquake - After a large earthquake, there is likely to be damage to buildings and infrastructure. This can mean there is more opportunity for a fire to start and spread. A fire which starts following an earthquake can develop into a serious emergency.

Lifeline Failure

LifelinesLifeline utilities are the organizations and companies that provide essential services to homes and communities, manage the infrastructure necessary to deliver services, and maintain the continuity of these services during an emergency. These lifeline services include gas, petrol, electricity, telecommunications and three waters.

A failure of one or more of these services can occur as a result of any type of natural disaster and can create its own hazard.

The lifeline utilities would be the lead agency responsible for coordinating restoration of supply and may require the support of councils and emergency services. The following section outlines how to better prepare for and respond to a failure in lifeline services. you can ready more about our Lifelines here.

Have an emergency kit - Store food, water, and warm clothing for your whole household. You could also consider having different ways to charge your mobile phone, such as a battery bank. 

Know where and how to turn off your water, electricity, and gas - Remember to treat all electrical equipment as ‘live.’ Have your utility company’s phone number, email, and website address written out. That way you can report any faults and follow the progress of restoring services.

Notify service providers - If you are reliant on electricity for a medical device, notify your electricity retailer directly.

Keep informed and use your emergency supplies - Have a solar or battery powered radio, or a car radio, so you can keep up with the latest news and alerts. Conserve your battery power on mobile phones. If the power goes out for a long period of time, eat the food from your fridge first, then your freezer, before you eat the food in the cupboard or your emergency kit.

Human Pandemic

PandemicA pandemic is an event where an infectious disease spreads through human populations across a large region. Pandemics are often caused by new diseases or mutations of existing viruses and can have major impacts. During a pandemic event Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand would be the lead agency, you can see more at; Pandemics | Ministry of Health NZ.  


Stay informed - There will be local and national announcements as circumstances may vary from one part of the country to another. The announcements will deal with a range of issues covering health, welfare, and travel. 

Stay home if you're sick - If you feel unwell, keep away from other people, avoid visitors and visiting others. 

Use best practice - Cover your coughs and sneezes, use tissues, dispose of them properly, then wash your hands. Wash your hands often and dry them well. Reduce germs in your home and workplace, regularly disinfect common surfaces. Stay home if you’re sick and keep away from other people, avoid visitors and visiting others.

Stay informed - Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 if you need health advice. Further health advice may be issued, such as social distancing, quarantine, and face mask mandates as we saw during Covid-19, Hawkes Bay CDEM will also publicise this information.


TerrorismPolice are the lead agency during a terrorism incident, meaning that they will take the operational lead during a response. For more information from New Zealand Police see here: New Zealand Police | Nga Pirihimana O Aotearoa. Learn more at Know what to do | New Zealand Police.


If you have any suspicions - tell the police. When you’re in buildings and on public transport, make sure you know where the emergency exits are. Keep a watch for suspicious behaviour, vehicles, or packages.

Find the safest way to leave the area - Move as quickly and calmly as you can. If there’s a fire, stay low to the floor and exit as quickly as possible. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth if you can. If a door is hot to the touch, don’t open it. If there’s an explosion outside a building, stay inside, keep away from windows, lifts, and outside doors. If you saw an explosion or any suspicious behaviour, tell the police.

Help others - give first aid if it’s safe to do so. Tell the police if you saw anything that might be useful. If you’re concerned about a loved one, contact the police.

Biosecurity Incident

BiosecurityThe Ministry of Primary Industry is the agency responsible for managing risks to plant and animal health and animal welfare. Biosecurity threats damage native biodiversity, fisheries, farms, and forests that have a large social and economic role. If you are in an industry that could potentially be affected by a biosecurity threat, make use of the Biosecurity NZ web page for information and alerts.  The Ministry of Primary Industry issues warnings of any biosecurity threat.


Get prepared and know your risk - Learn about the different threats and diseases and what to look for. As the flow of goods and people across our borders increases every year, and the widening scope of biosecurity, there is an ongoing risk posed by pests and diseases to the economy, environment, and human health.

Follow government warnings and report risks - When there is a Biosecurity concern, please take note of Government warnings and observe all restrictions of access/movement and health/sanitary requirements so that you do not spread the disease or make it worse. If you find an animal, plant, or plant disease that you think is a biosecurity risk, call the Exotic Pest and Disease toll-free, 24-hour emergency hotline: 0800 80 99 66 or go to the Biosecurity NZ website.


DroughtDroughts are a prolonged period where the amount of rain is significantly less than the average for a particular location. Droughts have been a feature of the Hawke’s Bay climate since pastoral farming began, The Ministry of Primary Industries, and the regions councils are responsible for guidance and potential support during a drought.

Severe drought can impact the amount of available water, decreasing production and economic activity. An extended dry period can also greatly increase the risk of fire. Find out more information, and access the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Drought Watch Indicator here:

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