For those of you who may be concerned, all is safe and sound here in Wellington.
There are a number of factors about Wellington which will hopefully prevent a similar “dreadful event” (as described by Queen Elizabeth) that occurred in Christchurch. According to my colleagues, Christchurch was always considered the one city in New Zealand safe from earthquakes. Hence, many building’s were not structurally reinforced to prevent collapse in an earthquake. In addition, many buildings were constructed out of stone or brick, building materials which cause a lot of damage in an earthquake.
This is not the case in Wellington. Due to the region’s history of earthquakes, buildings here are almost always built out of wood (such as my home, the old government buildings, etc.). Those that aren’t built out of wood are required to be reinforced and “earthquake proofed” (such as my office, Te Papa, etc.). Though this was often seen as an overly expensive and unnecessary cost to many individuals, we can all appreciate the stringency of Wellington’s building regulators in hindsight.
However, the very sad events in Christchurch should also serve as a reminder that one must be prepared for unforeseen emergencies, as evidenced by yesterday’s unexpected earthquake. I myself am realising that it’s extremely unwise for me to procrastinate any longer on getting together an “emergency kit” to have in my home, and another for my office.
After a discussion with my sweetheart, and consultation of New Zealand’s Ministry of Emergency Management “Get Thru” website, we have compiled the following list of essential “emergency kit” components which we think is suitable for the two of us:
- Torch with spare batteries
- Radio with spare batteries
- Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes.
- First aid kit and essential medicines
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet
- Face and dust masks
- Duct tape
- Food and water for at least three days
- Non-perishable food (canned or dried food)
- Water for drinking. At least 3 litres per person, per day
- Water for washing and cooking
- A can opener
I get paid tomorrow… and will start stocking up on these items! Though hopefully, we will never need them.