The information on this page is about being ready for an earthquake.
An earthquake is when the surface of the earth starts to shake.
Earthquakes happen because the surface of the earth is made up of huge pieces called tectonic plates, which are moving all the time.
Earthquakes happen when the tectonic plates:
All of New Zealand is at risk of earthquakes.
It is not possible to know when an earthquake might happen.
There are things we can do:
The best way to get ready for an earthquake is to make a plan.
Having an earthquake plan will make it easier know what to do if it happens.
It is a good idea to think about what supplies you might need.
Supplies could be things like:
First aid is when you give medical help to someone who is injured so you can:
You could get badly hurt if a large object falls on you during an earthquake.
Large objects could be things like:
You can make your home safer by making sure any large objects that could fall over in an earthquake are fixed to a wall.
If you have insurance for your home you should make sure it is up to date.
Having insurance is when you pay money to an insurance company so that they will assist you if something goes wrong.
You should make sure you have insurance for:
Having insurance for your home and contents will help you get things fixed quicker if your house is damaged by an earthquake.
It is also a good idea to put together a grab bag which you can take with you in an emergency.
A grab bag is a small bag of essential items which you can take with you if you need to get away from danger very quickly.
The best thing to do when an earthquake starts is drop, cover and hold.
Drop, cover and hold is what you do with your body to protect yourself in an earthquake.
Drop, cover and hold:
Your earthquake plan should include the safest places to drop, cover and hold.
The safest place to drop, cover and hold is somewhere close so you do not have to go more than a few steps to get to it.
You should know where these safe places are:
If you are inside when an earthquake starts you should stay inside.
If you run outside when an earthquake starts you may get hurt by falling objects.
You should not stand in a doorway when an earthquake is happening.
In most New Zealand houses the doorways are no stronger than any other part of the house.
You should make sure that you drop, cover and hold well away from:
It is important to practise what you will do in an earthquake so you can act quickly to keep yourself safe if it happens.
Practise is when you do something many times so that you get good at doing it.
You should practise doing drop cover and hold at least 2 times a year.
You could practise doing drop cover and hold when the clocks change at daylight savings time.
You could also practise doing drop cover and hold by taking part in New Zealand ShakeOut.
This information is not in Easy Read.
The following sections will tell you how to drop, cover and hold when an earthquake starts.
As soon as you feel an earthquake begin you should drop down on your hands and knees.
Doing this will stop you from falling / getting knocked over
it means you can still move if you need to.
You should cover yourself by getting underneath a strong table / desk if one is close to you.
You should make sure the table covers:
If you cannot get under a table you should use your hands to cover:
You should hold on to the legs of the table to stop it moving away from you.
You should keep holding the legs of the table until the shaking has stopped.
If you are not able to get underneath a table you should:
The rules for drop cover and hold can change depending on where you are when an earthquake starts.
If you are outside when an earthquake starts you should try to move away from any:
You should drop cover and hold in as safe a place as you can.
If you are in a lift / elevator when an earthquake starts you should drop cover and hold in the elevator.
If you are able to you should try to get out of the lift / elevator at the nearest floor.
If you are in bed when an earthquake starts you should:
You are less likely to get hurt if you stay in bed.
If you are driving when an earthquake starts you should:
Do not start driving again until the shaking has completely stopped.
Do not go near any structures that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
Structures are things like:
If you have a mobility impairment you might find it difficult to do the drop part of drop cover and hold.
A mobility impairment means you might find it difficult to:
You may need to use a stick / cane to support yourself.
If you have a mobility impairment when an earthquake starts you should get as close to the floor as you can.
If you cannot get on the floor it is okay to sit on:
You should use your hands to cover:
You should keep your stick / cane close to you so you can use it when the shaking stops.
You do not need to do the drop part of drop cover and hold if you use a mobility aid such as:
If you use these types of mobility aids you should lock, cover and hold.
Lock cover and hold means you should:
If an earthquake happens under the sea it can cause a giant wave called a tsunami.
Tsunami are waves that can:
A tsunami is more likely to happen if the earthquake:
You should remember that if an earthquake is long or strong you should get gone.
An earthquake is long or strong if the shaking:
Get gone means that when the shaking has stopped you should move as quickly as you can to a high place
get as far away from the beach / sea as you can.
If you feel a long and strong earthquake when you are near the beach / sea you should:
You should be ready for more shaking to happen even after an earthquake has stopped.
You should drop cover and hold every time you feel more shaking.
More shaking can happen at any time after an earthquake.
Sometimes more shaking happens many days after the first earthquake.
After an earthquake happens you should check yourself to make sure you have not been hurt.
If you have been hurt you should get first aid straight away.
You do not need to leave a building straight away after an earthquake.
You should stay inside after an earthquake happens even if you are frightened.
If you go outside you might get hurt by things the earthquake has damaged.
There are some reasons why you might need to get out of a building straight away after an earthquake.
These reasons include:
You may be told to turn off any utilities after an earthquake happens.
Utilities are things like:
After an earthquake you should check if you can:
If you notice any of these things you should:
After an earthquake you should look out for:
If you notice any of these things you should turn off the electricity at the main fuse box if it is safe to do so.
After an earthquake you are at risk of getting hurt by broken objects.
You can protect yourself from getting hurt by broken objects by putting on clothing that covers your:
You should also make sure you protect your feet by putting on some strong footwear.
If you are in a public place when an earthquake starts you should do what the person in charge tells you to do.
A public place could be:
You should not use the telephone after an earthquake unless it is to make an emergency call to 111.
This is so that the phone lines can be kept clear for calls to emergency services.
You should use other ways of contacting people if you need to such as:
You should check in with other people who may need support after an earthquake such as:
Your pets may be frightened by an earthquake.
You should make sure you protect your pets from any dangers.
You should keep your pets inside unless it is not safe to do so.
You should also keep control of your pets so they cannot hurt other people.
It is possible that an earthquake could damage your property.
Your property could be things like:
If your property is damaged by an earthquake you should not do anything that:
If you have insurance you should tell the insurance company about the earthquake damage as soon as possible.
If you rent your home you should tell your landlord about the earthquake damage as soon as possible.
You should take photos of any earthquake damage.
Having photos means that the insurance company can look at your insurance claim much faster.