Following an emergency, one of your first concerns will your family and home. Are they all safe? How would you get in touch if technology fails? If you can’t get home, where would you all meet up or could you stay with friends?

The start of a new school year is a great time to review what plans you have, and make sure everyone in your family is confident they would know what to do in an emergency.

Talk to everyone about how they will get home if usual transport methods are unavailable. It’s also important to talk about where you would meet if you weren’t able to get home, or stay home safely. Talk now with friends or family you could stay with, and make sure everyone is familiar with how to get there and how to contact them. Have a contact outside the area, such as family in another city who everyone can call to say they are safe.

The start of the school year is the perfect time to familiarise yourself with your schools emergency plan. It should tell you where the school will evacuate to if needed, and how they will contact families, among other things. If the school has used WREMO’s easy planning tool, their plan can be found on our schools page

Share the schools plan – whatever form it’s in - with the whole family, you never know who might be picking the kids up.

Make sure you complete the emergency contact list at your kids school as soon as you can, and talk to your children about what could happen in an emergency. It could just be that you’re held up in traffic and they get home to an empty house. Would they know what to do? Identify some places near to home that they could go; a friend’s house, the library, a local shop. It might be that they go back to school and find a teacher.

If you know someone who is leaving home for the first time, talk to them about how they can be prepared. Remember being prepared doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Moving to a new place means less local knowledge and networks. Encourage them to spend time in their new area, meeting people, and knowing their way around.

And if technology is working, the free Red Cross' Hazard App has a cool feature where you can tag yourself as safe. Details can be found on our Alerts page.

Remember:

  • Go through household plans often, and make sure everyone is familiar with them
  • Talking now can save stress in an emergency
  • Don’t rely on technology working in an emergency

If you have any issues on emergency preparedness you’d like discussed in this column, email: wremo@gw.govt.nz

Released: 7th February 2017