Emergency preparedness and understanding in Waikato generally good

22 August 2013, 04:27 PM

Waikato residents are being urged not to be complacent about how much warning they will get before disaster strikes.

The results of the latest national survey of people’s preparedness have been released today and indicate that 55 per cent of Waikato residents believe there will always be adequate warning before a disaster hits.

Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Controller Lee Hazlewood said in most areas the region’s level of preparedness was broadly in line with national averages.

“Emergency preparedness and understanding of disasters and their effects is generally pretty good across the Waikato, though there is room for improvement,” Mr Hazlewood said.

According to the Colmar Brunton research, 86 per cent of Waikato residents have survival items and 55 per cent have an emergency plan for when at home. Just over 1 in 10 are fully prepared (12 per cent).

“The standout result from the survey was Waikato people’s perception that they’ll have plenty of warning of a pending disaster – 55 per cent compared with the national average of 36 per cent.

“Flooding is our most common hazard in the region and we work with the Waikato Regional Council to closely monitor weather forecasts, river and stream levels during periods of sustained and heavy rain for signs of possible flooding. That means we generally have time to warn people if flooding is likely to occur.

“But there may be little or no warning for such events as earthquakes, close on-shore tsunami and volcanic eruptions – all hazards this region is vulnerable to. So people need to be vigilant about their preparedness at home and work,” Mr Hazlewood said.

He was also concerned that just 59 per cent of Waikato residents think a tsunami could occur, compared with the national average of 72 per cent.

“We have more than 1000km of coastline in the Waikato popular with people from across the region, and the Coromandel Peninsula has been identified as being particularly vulnerable to tsunami.”

Other results from the survey showed that in the Waikato:

  • 82 per cent have a good understanding of what the effects would be if a disaster struck in their area
  • 78 per cent said they have a good understanding of the types of disasters that could occur in New Zealand, and the chances of them occurring
  • 47 per cent regularly update their emergency survival items
  • 51 per cent have stored at least 3 litres of water per day for each member in their household.

In light of the very hot and dry 2012/13 summer it’s unsurprising that Waikato residents are more likely
than average to think that a drought could occur in New Zealand during their lifetime (10 per cent compared with the national average of 4 per cent).

The Colmar Brunton national telephone survey of 1263 respondents was carried out between 16 April and 23 May 2013 to measure disaster preparedness and to track the effectiveness of the national civil
defence and emergency management ‘Get Ready Get Thru’ communications campaign.

The survey has a maximum margin of error of +/- 3 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level.

Keep up to date with the latest information:

Copies of all the Colmar Brunton surveys since 2006 are available at on the Ministry’s website.


This media item was current at its release date. The facts or figures it contains may have changed since its original publication.