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Waikato CDEM media release for Disaster Week 2009

Last year’s Waikato floods, the potential slip at Little Waihi near Taupo and the threat of a major swine flu pandemic are all recent examples of how people need to be prepared for emergencies, says Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM).

"We live in a region with a lot of potential natural hazards and we need to be well prepared," said Waikato CDEM group controller Scott Fowlds.

Mr Fowlds was commenting ahead of the national Civil Defence Disaster Awareness Week 2009, which runs from 11-17 October and has the theme "GET READY GET THRU".

He said the Waikato region had an extensive network of rivers subject to flooding, coastal areas that could be threatened by tsunami, volcanoes that could erupt, the potential for avalanche and lahars, and there was always the possibility of strong earthquakes.

"Also, the recent threat of a swine flu pandemic is an example of how there are other types of emergency that can strike," said Mr Fowlds.

"Obviously we don’t know when and where natural disasters, emergencies or health scares may occur. But, given the nature of the risks we face in our region, we strongly urge that everyone be prepared for the worst."

Mr Fowlds recommended people:

· Ensure they know what to do when various types of disaster or emergency strike

· Have a family emergency plan for such situations

· Have an adequate supply of food, water and other essentials to get families through the first 72 hours of an emergency.

On the last point, Mr Fowlds said people should make sure torches and a transistor radio were working and had spare batteries. Water supplies should be at least three litres per person per day for a minimum of three days. There should also be supplies of items like toilet paper, medicines and food for pets.

The household emergency plan should establish a place to meet if family members aren’t at home when disaster strikes or the home becomes uninhabitable.

"Taking these sensible precautions could mean the difference between facing a highly stressful situation or getting through an emergency reasonably comfortably.

"I urge people to consider closely what they need to do to ensure they and their loved ones can get through."

For more information on how to "GET READU GET THRU" visit www.waikatoregioncdemg.govt.nz/(external link)

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