Would you be prepared if a Disaster happened? – Part I

2 Oct

Emergency Survival 

Part 1: The Getaway Kit 

Part 2: Emergency Survival Items 

Part 3: Emergency Plan 

Part 1: The Getaway Kit

After the Christchurch Earthquake in September, my son Henry got a homework assignment to fill out the published and downloadable Household Emergency Checklist and Emergency Plan from the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence www.getthru.govt.nz . What a great and practical homework!  Henry and I dived straight into the task! It didn’t take a lot of research to find out, that my family was not prepared for any disaster at all.  And the Earthquake could easily have happened in Auckland… 

Here is the Household Emergency list: 

Household Emergency Checklist by NZ Ministry of Civil Defence - Page 1

 

You might not be able to read the details in the checklist. But here is the link: http://www.getthru.govt.nz/web/GetThru.nsf/web/BOWN-7GYTRQ?OpenDocument 

When we started to fill out the printed Checklist, first we entered our address, home phone and all our mobile numbers, then other important phone numbers  besides 111, like our local council and Insurance Companies. 

 But what worried me most was the “Getaway Kit”. 

The Getaway Kit

The Ministry of Civil Defence recommends that every household should have a small bag with important documents for a Getaway Kit, ready for evacuation.  

This homework task showed me that even  in case of a house fire, I wouldn’t be able to rescue our most important documents, because they were all in different places, files, drawers, boxes and cupboards. 

And that was going to change! It took me several days to organise everything, but finally I have one bag (a spare Laptop bag) which includes a well organised file with all our passports, Birth Certificates, Photos of all family members, an address and telephone list of the extended family and friends here in New Zealand and overseas, the originals of all Insurance Policies (I made copies for the office files like car, house, life, content etc.),  ownership documents and plans of our house, info and numbers of all bank accounts, IRD numbers, our last financial Statement, ownership documents of our cars, Health Certificates with blood types and Vaccinations, International Drivers Licenses, a Will and other important and hard to get again papers. The first page of the file shows a plan of our house and where to turn off the Gas, Water and Power supplies in an Emergency.   

Thinking about a house fire or a natural disaster, it was hard to decide, what else I would really like to keep, if I could only take this one bag. 

I made my decision and I placed in the bag some pieces of jewellery, some small, very personal items, a few photos of my grandparents and my parents, the external hard drive (or USB stick) where I save all computer files on a regular base (since my computer crashed a few years ago and I lost everything) and some money. The Christchurch Earthquake showed that most shops couldn’t use eftpos or credit cards for several days. So, good old cash was very important to get food or petrol.  

My bag also includes a notebook and pens, a small camera and that’s it. In case of survival that  bag would make my life so much easier afterwards. Everybody in my family knows which bag it is and where it is placed. In case of a house fire or Emergency one of us can just grab it on our way out! And that’s a very good feeling (just in case…).  

So much for now.  In my next blog I will comment on the other Civil Defence recommended Emergency Survival Items  and a small list of things, that we added to it.

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