When disaster strikes...



Disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods and storms can strike at any time, sometimes without warning. All disasters have the potential to cause disruption, damage property and take lives. Knowing what to do before, during and after a disaster will help you and your loved ones keep safe and get through.

The information in this article will cover:

-          who is Civil Defence;

-          where you can get information before, during and after an emergency; and

-          helpful links and downloads for before, during and after.

Who is Civil Defence?

When disaster strikes, Civil Defence responds; but who is Civil Defence? The primary responsibility for civil defence emergency management (CDEM) at a local level rests with your local council. Local and regional councils work with emergency services (Police, Fire, Ambulance) and other relevant agencies to plan for and respond to disaster events.

Each local council also has its own Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) that manages the response on the ground – dealing with issues such as evacuations, surface flooding, road repairs, as well as getting information out to the public and much more.

Where can I get information?


The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management has a website dedicated to providing information that will help you get ready and get through (www.getthru.govt.nz).

This is a great source of learning and has a wide range of information, including:

-          how to get ready;

-          who to contact;

-          types of disasters that could strike;

-          what to do before during, during and after each disaster;

-          specific information for people with disabilities and pets and livestock; and

-          downloads, such as household and workplace emergency plans.


In the Tararua District, the Tararua District Council is responsible for for civil defence emergency management (CDEM) and they should be considered the most reliable source of information.

The Council will post information on their website and Facebook page, as well as send out updates to radio stations, newspapers and other media contacts to get information to the public as quickly as possible.

Before an emergency, ensure you have a battery-operated radio and record the frequency for your local stations in your Emergency Plan. In an emergency, find and tune in to your local radio stations (below) as they will broadcast official civil defence information that is appropriate for your community and situation.

Dannevirke                 107FM

Eketahuna                  106.5FM & 88.3FM

Pahiatua                      88.3FM

Woodville                    99.6FM

Central FM                  99.4FM

It is common for other groups and individuals to want to assist during an emergency, this means you may see or hear a range of information about the emergency and it becomes hard to recognise what is true and what is not. The Council website and Facebook Page are the most reliable sources of information as well as local/regional radio stations.

Unless it is to report a life-threatening emergency, it is not advisable to call the Council or use the telephone during an emergency. Telephone lines are frequently overloaded during an emergency and need to be clear for emergency calls. If there is something that you think you should report (but do not feel it is life-threating), you can send Council a message on Facebook.


After an emergency, it is important to continue to listen to local radio stations and refer to the Council website and Facebook Page for instructions on what to do, and what not to do. This may include information on:

-          cleaning up (do’s and don’ts);

-          caring for pets and livestock following an emergency;

-          how and where to check your home for damage;

-          what to do if your property is damaged and who to contact (insurance information etc.); and

-          other advice, specific to the type of disaster.

Helpful Links

Tararua District Council for updates and alerts during an emergency in the Tararua District, as well as information to help you prepare:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tararuadc
Website: www.tararuadc.govt.nz
CDEM: www.tararuadc.govt.nz/cdem
Pets & Livestock: www.tararuadc.govt.nz/cdem-animals
People with Disabilities: www.tararuadc.govt.nz/cdem-disabilities

Civil Defence Manawatu-Wanganui for updates and alerts during an emergency in the Manawatu-Wanganui region: www.facebook.com/civildefencemanawatuwanganui

GNS Science for information about earthquake, volcano and tsunami hazards: www.gns.cri.nz

NZ Transport Agency for information on road conditions: www.nzta.govt.nz

Ministry for Primary Industries for information about food safety during an emergency: www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/Food_Safety-Recent_Around.htm

What’s the Plan Stan? Information for kids and teachers: www.whatstheplanstan.govt.nz

Never Happens? Happens and Get Ready, Get Thru are both great learning sources to prepare yourself and your loved ones before a disaster strikes: www.happens.nz and www.getthru.govt.nz

Rural Support for free and confidential services to help people overcome adverse events: www.rural-support.org.nz

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