If you, or a member of your household, is disabled or has any special requirements that may affect your/their ability to cope in an emergency, follow these steps to get ready.
In an emergency, civil defence and emergency services will be busy helping the people who need them most. It’s up to you to ensure you get ready and that may mean having medical supplies or backup power systems, or doing whatever you need to get you through for three days or more.
How will an emergency affect you? What if the roads are closed; the shops are closed; there is no power, water, phone or internet; or 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.
Make a plan to get through an emergency.
Build a support team of people who will help you in an emergency, before you need them. The first people to assist in an emergency are often your neighbours, friends, caregivers and co-workers. They should be people who are regularly in the same area as you.
Get to know your neighbours. Share contact details so you can get in touch if an emergency occurs. 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, so it is important that your support team includes other people.
Your support network can help you get ready for an emergency, e.g. by helping you with evaluating your home or workplace to make sure they are safe and suitable.
Build a support team at each place where you spend a large part of your day (work, home, school) and work with them to create a needs assessment. This can help your network members learn the best way to assist you and offer additional ideas for you to think about.
Practice your plan with your support network, including how you will Drop, Cover and Hold in an earthquake and how you will evacuate if you are in a tsunami or flood zone.
You need to agree on how you will contact each other during an emergency, including if internet and phone lines are down.
Arrange with your network to check on you immediately if civil defence and emergency services have advised people in your area to evacuate.
In an emergency, roads and shops could be closed for days. Make sure you have supplies, including any medicine and special items you need, for at least seven days.
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.
Disaster Preparedness for People with Disabilities has been designed to help people who have physical, visual, auditory or cognitive disabilities to prepare for natural disasters.
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management has information on finding your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.
Information on the hazards we face in New Zealand and advice on what to do to be better prepared is presented in New Zealand Sign Language and captions in a series of videos available on YouTube.
Watch these New Zealand Sign Language videos on hazards and emergencies in New Zealand.
Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand have services available to assist deaf and hearing impaired people.
You may have to depend on others if you have to evacuate or go to an unfamiliar Civil Defence Centre.
If you have an assistance dog, such as a guide dog, ensure it is certified with an authorised organisation, such as the Blind Foundation.
Get a Disability Assist Dog identification tag — a unique tag worn by a certified dog to provide easy identification of Disability Assist Dog status. Ensure the dog is wearing its identification tag at all times. The tag enables access for service dogs to civil defence centres in an emergency, and will also support rapid reunification if the dog and handler become separated.
Plan for your dog. Have a grab bag for your disability assist dog with food, medications, vaccination records, identification and harnesses.
Information on the hazards we face in New Zealand and advice on what to do to be better prepared is available in audio format.
Audio recordings for people with sight impairments on how to get ready for an emergency.
Audio recordings for people with sight impairments on different types of hazards and what to do in an emergency.
The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind provides some of its key learnings on earthquake preparedness and response for the blind or partially sighted.
Find information for people with disabilities or special requirements on Get Ready, Get Thru. Available in multiple languages.