Homes in Tamahere rocked and rolled, lights swayed, blinds banged, floors tipped alarmingly just after midnight Monday morning as a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit near Hamner Springs in the South Island.
The biggest earthquake to hit New Zealand since a M7.8 in Dusky Sound in 2009 and bigger than the devastating February 2011 Christchurch quake was felt from Auckland to Southland.
Sadly, it brought death and devastation again to people and places in the South Island and our unfortunately sited capital, Wellington, to a halt.
Some Tamahere locals woken by the quake found themselves comparing notes on Facebook through the small hours of the night while monitoring Geonet for quake updates, EQNZ for quake and tsunami warnings and Radio NZ’s superlative reporting for information on what the hell was happening.
At this end of the country we were lucky to only suffer sleep deprivation but a shake up of that magnitude certainly raises awareness of your preparedness for a “big one” closer to home.
Are you ready?
The most important thing you can do to be prepared for an emergency is to have a plan to look after yourself and your loved ones for at least three days or more.
When a disaster strikes, you and your family or flatmates need to have already planned for how you will get through. Phones may be down so you should think about things like where you will meet if you can’t contact each other, who will pick up the kids from school or daycare, and whether your neighbours might need a hand.
Many disasters will affect essential services and possibly disrupt your ability to travel or communicate with each other. You may be confined to your home, or forced to evacuate your neighbourhood. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, emergency services will not be able to get help to everyone as quickly as needed.
Waikato Civil Defence also now sends out alerts via the Red Cross hazards app, available for Android and Apple phones from their respective app stores. Not only does it alert you to natural disasters but includes tools to help you through the emergency.
Some of the most helpful emergency agencies are listed on Tamahere Forum’s Directory.
Nothing better, though, than knowing your neighbours, phoning or walking over to check on them or share a therapeutic chat on what it was like for everyone, and what can be done together to get through.