Be prepared

When a disaster strikes, it is important that you are prepared in all aspects of your life.

Get ready get thru logo

Make sure you can get safely through a disaster at home, at school, in your community and at work.

At home

There is a lot you can do to prepare you and your family for a disaster. Making an Emergency Plan and starting your Emergency Kit are two simple steps you can take today.

Household plan

Making a plan before an emergency will help you work out what to do when a disaster happens.

The plan should be made with all members in your household and you should let family and close friends know about your plan so they know where and how to contact you if you need to leave your home.

Things to include in your household plan are:

  • What you will each do in the event of a disaster
  • How and where you will meet up during and after a disaster
  • Who will pick up the children
  • What you need to do for members of the household, family or community with a disability or special requirement
  • What you will need to do for your pets, domestic animals or livestock
  • What local radio stations to tune in to for civil defence information during an event

This Household Emergency Plan template(external link) [PDF 116KB] is a good place to start.

picture of an emergency kit

Emergency kit

When a disaster happens you may be without power and water for three days or more.

You may not be able to go to the shops and get food and so it is important to store enough food and water for all of your household and pets.

In your Emergency Kit you should also have important equipment such as a torch and spare batteries, a radio and first aid supplies.

This link contains a full list of what you should have in your Emergency Kit(external link).

At work

If a disaster happens while you are at work, you will need to think about how you will get home and reach your loved ones. If you own or run a business, think about how to look after your staff, and how you will keep your business running.

Resilient business logoBusinesses, both large and small, often do too little, too late, to prepare themselves for the unexpected. Failure to plan can be disastrous. At best you risk losing customers while you’re getting your business back on its feet. At worst your business may never recover and ultimately cease trading.   

Resilient Business(external link) is about providing the tools to make it simpler for businesses to maintain continuity through a crisis or emergency. And the good news is, it’s not as hard as you think.

Being a Resilient Business is not an insurance policy against the consequences of a disaster but it does have the capacity to determine whether businesses remain operational during an unexpected event. Business resilience enhances productivity, strengthens flexibility and encourages innovation.  It makes a positive contribution to total business performance and adds value on a day by day basis.

The Resilient Business website provides user-friendly tools for the business community to adopt effective resilience strategies appropriately tailored for the size of the business. Designed and implemented through an Auckland Council initiative, this is the culmination of a collaborative and coordinated approach; a website by business for business.

The project was initiated in 2010 with a small team of businesses from across New Zealand. The approach has been to keep it simple, concise, relevant and timely. By utilising the information and tools contained in this website, you will be able to understand, develop and implement your own approach to resilience.

At school

At school Christchurch City Council provides an education programme called Stan's Got a Plan to supplement the delivery of CDEM education in the classroom.

Stan the dog

Stan's Got a Plan programme

The ‘Stan’s Got a Plan’ programme can be used to launch or summarise a classroom Disaster Studies module. The programme is:

  • Linked to the New Zealand Curriculum, including the "What’s the Plan Stan?” resource produced by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management
  • Supportive of the inquiry process
  • Guided by experienced educators
  • Free.

Focus your ‘Stan’s Got a Plan’ experience by choosing from earthquakes, flooding, pandemic, tsunami or storms.

Programmes are offered at year 1-3, year 4-6 and year 7-8.

For further information, contact us on (03) 941 8999 or email

Book a Stan's Got a Plan school learning programme

In your community

Developing a Community Response Plan is the best way to make sure that your community will get through an emergency.

Community ResponseCommunity Resilience Planning Programme

We are working with communities across the city to raise awareness of risks and hazards, improve the level of readiness and preparation for emergencies, and to boost our ability to respond and recover when there is an emergency.

It’s important you get involved because you know your community; it’s where you live, work, shop, or spend your leisure time.

What you can do:

  • Speak with your community about what your plan is before, during and after a disaster
  • Apply for the Neighbourhood Action Fund 
  • Get in touch so we can organise a group session in your area. Email us at
  • Teachers can book a Stan’s Got a Plan programme for your classroom in the above topic called 'At School'.

The Community Response Planning section has more information about planning for emergencies in your community.

Neighbourhood Action Fund

We have funding available to support local actions for community response planning. Applications are open until 19 March 2018.

One-off grants of up to $5000 are available for the following:

  • Developing or distributing resources to help your community get more prepared
  • Holding community meetings to initiate planning for emergencies
  • Mentoring community groups who are interested in working with their communities to get more prepared
  • Developing or supporting a community emergency hub: a place for the community to coordinate efforts to help each other during and after a disaster.

Apply for the Neighbourhood Action Fund here.

Community response planning

When a disaster happens aid may not be available for three days or more. You will need to rely on, and help the people around you to get through.

There may be people in your neighbourhood or community who are vulnerable, injured, or have lost their homes. These people will need extra support from you.

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a disaster is to connect with your community:

  • Get to know your neighbours
  • Share your "in case of an emergency" contact details with your neighbours so they know how to contact you in an emergency
  • Ask your neighbours about their Emergency Plan and tell them about yours
  • Help to develop a Community Response Plan...

A Community Response Plan can include;

  • A description of the community and the hazards faced by the community
  • A description of what the community will do in an emergency, including where food, water, shelter, fuel, medical services and vulnerable people are located
  • Identify where the community will meet in an emergency, and how to evacuate, if necessary
  • A description of how the community will liaise with Civil defence and other emergency services

If you are interested in developing a plan for your community, contact the Civil Defence officer in your local council and they would be able to assist you.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities

After the 2010/11 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, guidelines were developed to help authorities engage more effectively with communities with different cultures and languages. This was to help make sure these communities get the help they need in a disaster.

You can read the full report here:

Advice for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities

New Zealand’s population is growing more and more culturally diverse. In times of disaster, CALD communities have enormous capacity to respond, but it must also be ensured that there is no language (or other) barrier to prevent this from happening.

Here is some advice to help your CALD Community get the support you need during and following a disaster and to feel connected to the subsequent rebuild of you community.

Develop strong leadership

  • Leaders need to support their community and make sure others are doing this too. Leaders need to ask for help to grow in this role, and take part in opportunities available to learn to be more effective as a leader.

Reach out to local communities and engage with them

  • Invite neighbours and friends to cultural celebrations and get to know the people who live near you. These connections are helpful when disaster occurs.

Develop resiliency and preparedness

  • Learn the hazards that your community may be exposed to
  • Get the community prepared by talking about emergency planning and offering practical help to community members as they prepare disaster kits.
  • Consider supporting a community member to have a civil defence role within the community – someone who can learn about disaster management and pass this information on to the community. This person can be a key contact alongside the community leader, supporting them in times of disaster.
  • Promote people’s right to an interpreter when dealing with government agencies, and help CALD community members to be able to request this service.

Know who your vulnerable members are

  • Have a plan in place to ensure they are supported

Work in with Government agencies

  • Let agencies know what you expect so they can adjust the way they work with each community.
  • Invite key agencies to base a worker at CALD community hubs.
  • Let agencies know how they can best get information to members of your CALD community.
  • Make sure your community’s information is included in CALD emergency databases and update this regularly.
  • Let agencies know about the good things you are doing to communicate, connect with and support your own community following disaster - own language websites, phone trees/chains, radio shows and stations, other media etc.