If you have a disability or any requirements that may put you at greater risk in an emergency, follow these steps to get ready.

Steps to get ready

Talk about how an emergency could affect you

In an emergency, civil defence and emergency services will be busy helping the people who need them most. It’s up to you to get ready. That may mean having things like medical supplies or backup power systems for three days or more.

How will an emergency affect you? What if the roads and shops are closed? What if there is no power, water, phone or interne? What if you have to leave home in a hurry?

Talk with your household and your support network about:

  • the types of supplies you might need
  • the support you need, and
  • where you will go if you can’t stay at home.

Think about what you will do if:

  • things have moved around or broken, or there is debris
  • familiar landmarks move or are destroyed
  • your service animal is hurt or too frightened to work.

Make a plan

Make a plan to get through emergency. You should decide what you will be able to do for yourself and what help you may need before, during and after an emergency.

Make a list of your personal needs and your resources for meeting them in an emergency. An emergency can change your ability to deal with your environment. It's important you plan for your lowest level of functioning.

Make sure you're familiar with the plans for your work, school or any other places you spend a lot of time. If your work or school's current plan doesn't make arrangements for disabled people, make sure management knows your needs.

Build a personal support network

Build a support team of people who will help you in an emergency, before you need them. In an emergency, you may need to ask for help to do the things you usually do independently.

The first people to help in an emergency are often your neighbours, friends, caregivers and co-workers. They should be people who are often in the same area as you.

Get to know your neighboursShare contact details so you can get in touch if an emergency happens. Tell them about your emergency plan and ask about their plans.

Do not depend on one person. That person may not be able to contact you or be available when you need them.

Your support network can help you get ready for an emergency. For example, they can help you check your home or workplace to make sure it is safe and suitable.

Build a support team at each place where you spend a large part of your day. Talk with your support team about your emergency plan. This can help your network members learn the best way to help you and give you other ideas to think about.

Practice your plan with your support network. Include how you will Drop, Cover and Hold in an earthquake and how you will evacuate if you are in a tsunami or flood zone.

Agree on how you will contact each other during an emergency. How will you contact each other if internet and phone lines are down?

Get your network to check on you immediately if you are is advised to evacuate.

Make sure you have any supplies you may need

In an emergency, roads and shops could close for days. Make sure you have supplies for at least three days. Include any medicine or special equipment you may need.

  • If you need to refrigerate your medical supplies, make sure you have an alternative power supply or refrigeration system.
  • Wear a medical alert tag or bracelet to identify your disability or health condition.
  • Work out what supplies you need. Have essential supplies in a grab bag in case you need to leave in a hurry.
  • If you are traveling, let a hotel or motel manager know your needs in case of an emergency.
  • Know where to go for help if you are dependent on life-sustaining equipment or treatment that might not work in an emergency.
  • If you have dietary requirements or food allergies, make sure you have enough food for up to three days. You should also include snack food in your grab bag and make sure your meeting place is stocked with long-lasting, suitable foods.
  • If you have asthma or a respiratory disorder, make sure your grab bag has dust masks (rated P2 or N95). Emergencies like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes can make it harder to breathe.

Lock, Cover and Hold

If you use a walker or wheelchair, Lock, Cover and Hold.

LOCK your wheels (if applicable). If using a walker carefully get as low as possible.

Bend over and COVER your head and neck as best you can.

Then HOLD on until the shaking stops.

Lock, Cover, Hold
Drop, Cover, Hold

Download and print these posters in English on what to do in an earthquake. Put them up in your home, school, work or community space.

Remember to Drop, Cover and Hold in an earthquake. If you use a walker or wheelchair, Lock, Cover and Hold.

drop-cover-bed-pos-a4-en-oct19.pdf pdf 1.3 MB
drop-cover-bed-stay-pos-a4-en-oct19.pdf pdf 1.5 MB
drop-cover-cane-pos-a4-en-oct19.pdf pdf 1.3 MB
drop-cover-cane-sit-pos-a4-en-dec19.pdf pdf 851 KB
drop-cover-car-pos-a4-en-oct19.pdf pdf 1.4 MB
drop-cover-car-shakes-pos-a4-en-oct19.pdf pdf 887 KB
drop-cover-hold-pos-a4-en-dec16.pdf pdf 102 KB
drop-cover-walker-pos-a4-en-oct19.pdf pdf 1.1 MB
drop-cover-wheelchair-pos-a4-en-oct19.pdf pdf 1.1 MB

If you are hard of hearing

Make sure you have a way to find warnings, information and advice in an emergency

  • Radio and television stations will broadcast civil defence information and advice. Get your personal support network to alert you to any warnings and keep you informed. Contact your Civil Defence Emergency Management Group or council to find out what warning systems are in your community.
  • Give a neighbour or someone in your support network a key to your house so they can alert you.
  • Install a warning system that is appropriate to your needs. For example, an alarm with flashing strobe lights to get your attention. Replace the batteries every 12 months.
  • Put a writing pad, pencils and a torch with batteries in your grab bag so you can communicate with others.
Civil Defence logo

Find your local Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group.

Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand logo

Deaf Aotearoa have services available for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

New Zealand Sign Language videos about hazards and what to do to be better prepared

Watch New Zealand Sign Language videos on hazards and emergencies in New Zealand.

If you are blind or have a visual impairment

Be prepared if you have to evacuate

You may have to depend on others if you have to evacuate or go to an unfamiliar Civil Defence Centre.

  • If you have a guide dog, make sure you have a grab bag for them with food, medications, vaccination records, identification and harnesses.
  • Keep extra canes at home and in the workplace, even if you use a guide dog. Animals may become confused or disoriented in an emergency.
  • Trained service animals can stay in emergency shelters with their owners. 

Disability assist dogs

If you have an assistance dog, such as a guide dog, certify it with an authorised organisation, such as Blind Low Vision NZ.

Get a Disability Assist Dog identification tag. This is a unique tag worn by a certified dog for easy identification of Disability Assist Dog status. Make sure your dog is wearing its identification tag at all times. The tag gives service dogs access to civil defence centres in an emergency. It also supports rapid reunification if you and your dog are separated.

Plan for your dog. Have a grab bag for your dog with food, medications, vaccination records, identification and harnesses.

Make sure your dog knows the people in your support network. This will make it easier for your dog to accept care from someone other than you.

Drop, Cover and Hold with a cane

If you use a cane, Drop, Cover and Hold or sit on a chair, bed, etc. and cover your head and neck with both hands.

Keep your cane near you so you can use it when the shaking stops.

When in bed, cover your head
Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind logo

The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind has advice on earthquake preparedness for people who are blind or have a visual impairment.

spec-blind-earthquake-info-en-jan16.docx docx 174 KB

Audio files about hazards and what to do to be better prepared

Listen to audio recordings about the hazards we face in New Zealand and emergency preparedness.

Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings for people with sight impairment about emergency preparedness.

01-spec-blind-introduction-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 139 KB
02-spec-blind-get-ready-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 61 KB
03-spec-blind-emergency-planning-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 811 KB
04-spec-blind-survival-items-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 966 KB
05-spec-blind-evacuation-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 732 KB
06-spec-blind-disabilities-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 1.1 MB
07-spec-blind-pets-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 445 KB
08-spec-blind-storing-water-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 557 KB
09-spec-blind-car-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 192 KB
10-spec-blind-business-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 349 KB
11-spec-blind-contact-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 226 KB
12-spec-blind-radio-stations-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 186 KB
Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings for people with sight impairment about different hazards.

01-spec-blind-learn-about-disasters-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 32 KB
02-spec-blind-flood-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 871 KB
03-spec-blind-storms-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 1.4 MB
04-spec-blind-earthquake-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 1.3 MB
05-spec-blind-tsunami-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 1.4 MB
06-spec-blind-volcano-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 1.3 MB
07-spec-blind-landslide-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 686 KB
08-spec-blind-other-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 198 KB
09-spec-blind-emergency-checklist-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 783 KB
10-spec-blind-emergency-plan-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 537 KB
11-spec-blind-closing-announcement-audio-en-jan16.mp3 mp3 177 KB
Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings about how to get prepared for an emergency.

earthquake-audio-en-oct19.wav wav 2.6 MB
evacuation-audio-en-oct19.wav wav 3.3 MB
neighbours-audio-en-oct19.wav wav 2 MB
school-audio-en-oct19.wav wav 2.3 MB
tsunami-audio-en-oct19.wav wav 1.7 MB
water-audio-en-oct19.wav wav 2.9 MB
why-prepare-audio-en-oct19.wav wav 2.1 MB

Translated information for disabled people

Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings in (Farsi) فارسی about how to get prepared for an emergency.

earthquake-audio-fa-oct19.wav wav 4.1 MB
evacuation-audio-fa-oct19.wav wav 5.4 MB
neighbours-audio-fa-oct19.wav wav 3.1 MB
school-audio-fa-oct19.wav wav 4.2 MB
tsunami-audio-fa-oct19.wav wav 3.8 MB
water-audio-fa-oct19.wav wav 4.1 MB
why-prepare-audio-fa-oct19.wav wav 2.9 MB
Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings in हिन्दी (Hindi) about how to get prepared for an emergency.

earthquake-audio-hi-oct19.wav wav 4.4 MB
evacuation-audio-hi-oct19.wav wav 5.6 MB
neighbours-audio-hi-oct19.wav wav 3.4 MB
school-audio-hi-oct19.wav wav 4.2 MB
tsunami-audio-hi-oct19.wav wav 3.9 MB
water-audio-hi-oct19.wav wav 5.2 MB
why-prepare-audio-hi-oct19.wav wav 2.6 MB
Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings in 日本語 (Japanese) about how to get prepared for an emergency.

earthquake-audio-ja-oct19.wav wav 8 MB
evacuation-audio-ja-oct19.wav wav 9.5 MB
neighbours-audio-ja-oct19.wav wav 5.7 MB
school-audio-ja-oct19.wav wav 8.2 MB
tsunami-audio-ja-oct19.wav wav 6 MB
water-audio-ja-oct19.wav wav 9.3 MB
why-prepare-audio-ja-oct19.wav wav 7 MB
Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings in 한국어 (Korean) about how to get prepared for an emergency.

earthquake-audio-ko-oct19.wav wav 4.5 MB
evacuation-audio-ko-oct19.wav wav 4.7 MB
neighbours-audio-ko-oct19.wav wav 3.7 MB
school-audio-ko-oct19.wav wav 4.3 MB
tsunami-audio-ko-oct19.wav wav 3.6 MB
water-audio-ko-oct19.wav wav 4 MB
why-prepare-audio-ko-oct19.wav wav 2.9 MB
Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings in 简体中文 (Simplified Chinese) about how to get prepared for an emergency.

earthquake-audio-zh-hans-oct19.wav wav 4.1 MB
evacuation-audio-zh-hans-oct19.wav wav 4.4 MB
neighbours-audio-zh-hans-oct19.wav wav 2.8 MB
school-audio-zh-hans-oct19.wav wav 3.8 MB
tsunami-audio-zh-hans-oct19.wav wav 3.3 MB
water-audio-zh-hans-oct19.wav wav 3.9 MB
why-prepare-audio-zh-hans-oct19.wav wav 2.7 MB
Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings in नेपाली (Nepali) about how to get prepared for an emergency.

earthquake-audio-ne-oct19.wav wav 4 MB
evacuation-audio-ne-oct19.wav wav 6.1 MB
neighbours-audio-ne-oct19.wav wav 3.5 MB
school-audio-ne-oct19.wav wav 3.7 MB
tsunami-audio-ne-oct19.wav wav 3.4 MB
water-audio-ne-oct19.wav wav 4.5 MB
why-prepare-audio-ne-oct19.wav wav 2.3 MB
Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings in Gagana Samoa (Samoan) about how to get prepared for an emergency.

earthquake-audio-sm-oct19.wav wav 4.1 MB
evacuation-audio-sm-oct19.wav wav 5.3 MB
neighbours-audio-sm-oct19.wav wav 4 MB
school-audio-sm-oct19.wav wav 4.3 MB
tsunami-audio-sm-oct19.wav wav 4.1 MB
water-audio-sm-oct19.wav wav 4.8 MB
why-prepare-audio-sm-oct19.wav wav 2.6 MB
Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings in Tagalog about how to get prepared for an emergency.

earthquake-audio-tl-oct19.wav wav 3.7 MB
evacuation-audio-tl-oct19.wav wav 5 MB
neighbours-audio-tl-oct19.wav wav 3.3 MB
school-audio-tl-oct19.wav wav 3.7 MB
tsunami-audio-tl-oct19.wav wav 3.2 MB
water-audio-tl-oct19.wav wav 4.3 MB
why-prepare-audio-tl-oct19.wav wav 2.6 MB
Civil Defence logo

Listen to these audio recordings in Te Reo Māori about how to get prepared for an emergency.

earthquake-audio-mi-oct19.wav wav 4.4 MB
evacuation-audio-mi-oct19.wav wav 4.8 MB
neighbours-audio-mi-oct19.wav wav 3.5 MB
school-audio-mi-oct19.wav wav 3.7 MB
tsunami-audio-mi-oct19.wav wav 3.6 MB
water-audio-mi-oct19.wav wav 4.1 MB
why-prepare-audio-mi-oct19.wav wav 2.9 MB
Get Ready Get Thru logo

Find advice in 简体中文 (Simplified Chinese) for disabled people on Get Ready, Get Thru.

Get Ready Get Thru logo

Find advice in 繁體中文 (Traditional Chinese) for disabled people on Get Ready, Get Thru.

Download, print and share our Drop, Cover and Hold posters showing what to do in an earthquake. Remember to Drop, Cover and Hold, or if you use a walker or wheelchair, Lock, Cover and Hold.