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Natural disaster/civil defence

In the event of a disaster whenever and wherever it strikes it is important that we have planned how we will respond.

In a civil defence emergency, radio becomes a key means of communication and the medium in which to receive vital updates and other information.

In the event of a civil defence emergency, tune into one of the following radio stations

  • National Radio [Frequency: 101.4FM or 756AM]
  • News Talk ZB [89.4FM]
  • Classic Hits [97.4FM]
  • More FM [91.8FM]
  • Radio Live [100.6FM or 702AM]

The following website links can be referred to:

It is important that we have plans in place to be able to respond to disaster situations – the emergency services will be assessing the situation and may need to attend to others who may be in more need of their assistance.

Storm damage and flooding

The Auckland and Northland regions can be subject to occasional storms that can be quite violent. It is an unusual occurrence to have a tornado through the regions but it has been known to happen.

Such events are not as powerful as experienced in other parts of the world, nevertheless damage to building roofs, downing trees, flooding, flying objects, power outages and severe traffic congestion can occur.

You are likely to receive some prior notice of a severe storm warning via the media and MetService.
In the event of such a warning follow the guidelines below.


  • Secure loose items to prevent them flying around like unguided missiles.
  • Monitor radio stations and applicable websites.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances.
  • Postpone appointments or field trips should your travel or activity coincide with a storm warning.
  • Have torches, spare batteries and radios readily accessible.

During a storm

  • Close all curtains to slow down flying glass and airborne objects.
  • Stay away from doors and windows. If the wind becomes destructive, shelter further inside the complex.
  • Don't walk around outside.
  • Don't drive unless absolutely necessary.
  • Contact UniSafe to report location and damage.

Remain vigilant after the storm

  • Check your building for damage, if any has occurred inform UniSafe and Maintenance.
  • Keep listening to your local radio station for official warnings/advice.
  • Beware of fallen power lines, damaged buildings, trees and flooded drains.
  • Check trees near your building for damage and stability.


Floods caused by the overflow of rivers and streams are extremely dangerous and may require the evacuation of buildings.

  • Move out of the flooded area or go to the nearest high ground.
  • Lift items as high above the floor as possible if area is prone to flooding.
  • Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters unless it is absolutely essential.
  • Do not go sightseeing to look at the damage the flood has caused.

Volcanic eruptions

The Auckland Region lies on a potentially active volcanic area. No one knows when or where the next volcanic eruption will be. However it is likely that some warning will be provided prior to a significant eruption occurring.

The chances that an eruption will occur in your lifetime may be small, but scientists agree that another eruption is inevitable at some time in the future. There have been 20 eruptions in the Auckland area in the past 20,000 years.

What should you do in the event of an eruption?

The University Emergency Management Response Group in liaison with Civil Defence will issue instructions on what actions need to be taken.

Treat the following information as a general guide for when you are not on University grounds.

  • Listen for instructions from Civil Defence - some people may need to be evacuated.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • If you need to go outside, wear a breathing mask and goggles.
  • Try to keep ash from accumulating on the roof.
  • Don't go sightseeing - you'll add to congestion and put yourself and others at risk.


The risk of an earthquake in the Auckland region is considered low. However other regions in New Zealand do, and have in recent history, experienced earthquakes.

What should you do in the event of an eruption?

During an earthquake:

  • if you are outside, then drop into a curled up position, cover your head with hands and arms and hold position until the quake has stopped
  • if you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps, drop, cover under a solid object such as a table and hold
  • if you are driving, pull over and stop
  • if you are at the beach or near the coast, drop, cover and hold then move to higher ground immediately in case a tsunami follows the quake.

After an earthquake:

  • you should expect to feel aftershocks
  • help those around you if you can
  • if you are in a damaged building, try to get outside and find a safe, open place
  • do not go sightseeing to look at the damage the earthquake has caused
  • if you smell gas, try and turn off the gas main outside the building if it is safe to do so
  • if you see sparks, broken wires or evidence of electrical system damage, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box if it is safe to do so
  • listen to the radio for information and advice.

The priority is to preserve life.

Civil Defence cabinets are positioned in most buildings and contain emergency supplies.

Building wardens, floor wardens and designated first aid officers are to help with the safe coordinated evacuation of occupants from the building.

Occupants are not to re-enter the building unless the building is declared safe to re-enter.

"Triangle of Life" Viral Email

You may have come across or been sent this viral email that is making the rounds throughout Australasia. The NZ Ministry of Civil Defence advises that Drop, Cover and Hold is the best action to take during an earthquake. The document below explains the reasons for this and the immediate actions to take

NZ ShakeOut Earthquake Exercise

The Ministry of Civil Defence is running a large exercise in September 2012 called NZ ShakeOut. You can participate in this exercise as a individual or as a work group. To findout more about how to prepare and register go to their website NZ ShakeOut





In recent years we have observed in New Guinea, Indonesia and Samoa the devastating power of a tsunami as a result of significant undersea earthquakes.

New Zealand is potentially vulnerable to a tsunami.

Many staff and students undertake coastal research activities and should there be a Civil Defence Warning alert or other warnings the following procedures shall take place.

Tsunami Warnings

If a tsunami is approaching The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management will issue a national warning on the television and radio.

If you are at the coast and you feel a strong earthquake, see the sea receding (the waterline moving away from the shore), the sea bubbling or making a roaring sound, move to higher ground immediately.

Be aware that there may be more than one wave, each potentially bigger than the one preceding it and it may not be safe for up to 24 hours.

All planned field trips that will be operating in coastal areas shall be postponed when a National Civil Defence Warning of a tsunami alert has been issued. Contact must be made with field trip leaders.

Those faculties whose schools operate field trips in coastal areas will subscribe to the Civil Defence Warning Email.

Any University vessels in port or at sea shall heed advice from the harbour master. Warning will be issued by five prolonged blasts and in major ports sirens. Skippers shall immediately monitor VHF radios to receive further instructions.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has up-to-the minute information and warnings on tsunami alerts in the pacific region.