Aotearoa takes part in national ShakeOut day

updated By Regan Paranihi
Credit: Facebook / Kris Faafoi

More than 800,000 people have learned how to take action during an earthquake or tsunami during the national ShakeOut drill this morning.

Civil defence groups, schools and organisations took part and practised the Drop, Cover Hold drill.  Tsunami hīkoi are also being practised today for communities living in coastal areas.

Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management Sarah Stuart-Black says, "All of New Zealand is at risk of earthquakes and all of our coastlines is at risk of a tsunami.  We can't predict when one will happen, or where we will be, but we can protect ourselves and our families by practising what to do."

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management and EQC invited schools to take part in the New Zealand ShakeOut Schools Challenge as part of this year’s exercise in the hope to raise awareness regarding what safety procedures to take during emergencies.

Stuart-Black says, “Since 2016, we've experienced one massive earthquake and two local source tsunami, and we've also learned even more about seismic risks such as the Alpine Fault, the Hikurangi Fault, and the Kermadec Trench.”

The shakeout is an international exercise that originated in California and was held nationwide in New Zealand in 2012 and 2015.  This year the focus has changed to an annual event, which will give people a regular reminder of what to do.

"The ShakeOut drill will help make the Drop, Cover Hold actions second nature while giving us a chance to practice our tsunami evacuation routes," says Stuart-Black.

To find out more about tsunami safety and local evacuation maps, check out the Civil Defence website.