©Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management
We had a power cut for two and a half days. We survived. The food in our freezer and fridge didn’t. The cause was a fire at a power station. My emergency mode kicked in and I found torches, candles, the portable gas burner and canisters, and the emergency radio. We found batteries and matches. We got wood in to heat the house with the fireplace. We got sorted. We realised that the back up generator was luckily in the front entrance. We had planned on putting it in the garage out of the way but we never got around to it. The garage door is electric so we couldn’t have gotten inside. It wasn’t life threatening for us. From the luxury of a 1st world country we experienced what people in some 3rd world countries experience on a daily basis. It gave us time to stop and think.
Emergency Survival Kit
How did we do?
- Torch with spare batteries or a self-charging torch
- Radio with spare batteries
- Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes.
- First aid kit and essential medicines
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Pet supplies (if applicable)
- Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet
- Face and dust masks
- Basic phone (suggested)
I can say that we had all of these items however I must point out that we took some time to get our hands on them. The only things we actually used were the torches, phone, radio and batteries. Candles are not recommended in an earthquake for the danger of fire but we used them in the black out at night. Candle light dinners are quite lovely even in a blackout.
If you need medical help dial 111 in New Zealand.
Power out? Traffic lights don’t work, chaos on the roads, especially at night.
If you have electric gates or garage doors you won’t be able to go far anyway.
LISTEN TO THE RADIO
In an emergency the radio will broadcast the situation and suggestions of what to do. The following radio stations below broadcast for the Civil Defense in emergencies in Auckland:
Radio New Zealand: 101.4FM or 756AM
Newstalk ZB: 1080AM 89.4FM
Classic Hits: 97.4FM
More FM: 91.8FM
Radio Live: 100.6 FM or 702 AM
MAKE YOUR HOUSE SAFE
Know where to turn off gas, water and power if necessary.
Check your neighbours and see if they are okay.
Notes to Self:
Emergency items shouldn’t be stored in the garage.
Inverter generators need both oil and fuel. This needs to be prepared BEFORE a disaster. Only use OUTSIDE. They are noisy so keep usage to daylight hours.
Keep the freezer and fridge doors closed to keep the temperatures as low as possible in a power cut. You can add ice to the fridge if there is space.
Fill the bath up with cold water just in case there is a problem with the water supply. Chilled Savingnon Blanc? Drinking, washing, dishes.
Have two forms of heating for your house.
Stock up on firewood a season ahead of time so you guarantee dry wood.
Have surge protectors on electronic goods ie. computers, TV, stereo,…
Unplug as much as you can so that when the power comes on there won’t be a surge.
Portable gas stoves with gas canisters or a gas BBQ are useful in an emergency.
Candles need to be lit before it gets dark. Torches/electric lamps are safer. Candles more primal or intimate.
Basic phones are needed if there is a phone connection is working, cordless phones don’t work in an emergency.
Cell phone towers also have power cuts and so cell phone reception may not work in an emergency.
RESULTS: For 2+ days we managed okay but if it was for longer we would not be so comfortable.
Store emergency goods in an easy to reach place. Make sure everyone in the house knows where they are.
Have plenty of batteries for torches and radios, phone charging.
Prepare torches before it gets dark. Prepare dinner before it gets dark. Prepare and do as much as you can before it gets dark.
Solar power devices are handy for charging small devices.
Have enough water for 3 days, drinking, washing, cooking. Fill the bath with cold water.
Have enough canned foods to be self sufficient for TWO weeks. Remember the can opener.
If you have a burglar alarm or magnetic gates the back up batteries will need replacing.
Create good habits in daily life so that when an emergency strikes you will be prepared.
INTERESTING POINTS TO NOTE:
Cat doors are useful with generators for running electrical cords from the generator to inside the house.
Cell phone towers lose power too so cell phones don’t always work. Don’t expect to be able to communicate via cellphone.
Emergency radios are brilliant! Ours has a wind up handle in case the batteries run out.
Use a telescope at night to see the stars without the light pollution during a blackout. Next time!
I do not panic in an emergency.
TO DO LIST:
Get another load of firewood.
Put together an Emergency Get Away Kit for if we need to evacuate the house in a hurry.
Find a place for the Get Away Kit.
Request an annual burglar alarm check.
Civil Defence New Zealand
Get Ready Get Thru
Auckland Civil Defence
The Temptations – Get Ready