When the initial threat of danger has passed, you should listen to the radio for instructions. Your first priority is your own safety and the safety of your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

What to do immediately after an emergency

The main channels that will be used during emergencies are:

Plan ahead so you know how to stay safe after a disaster. Your first priority is your own safety and the safety of your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

If it is safe to do so, and you are physically able to provide assistance, you may be able to help the people around you:

  • Check for injuries.
  • Do not attempt to move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.
  • If the person is not breathing, carefully position them for artificial respiration, clear the airway, and commence mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Maintain their body temperature with blankets. Be sure they do not become overheated. 
  • Never try to feed liquids to someone who is unconscious.

Your own safety must be your first priority. Do not attempt to rescue trapped or buried people. Regular First Aid training(external link) is essential to maintain the skills you will need to provide help to the injured after an emergency.

Be aware of exhaustion. Don't try to do too much at once. Set priorities and pace yourself. Get enough rest.

  • Drink plenty of clean water.
  • Eat well.
  • Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water often when working in debris.
  • Do not attempt rescue activities unless you have training, experience and safety equipment.
  • Never attempt rescue activities alone - solo rescuers can easily become victims.

Be aware of new safety issues created by the disaster. Watch for :

  • washed out roads,
  • contaminated buildings,
  • contaminated water,
  • gas leaks,
  • broken glass,
  • damaged electrical wiring,
  • collapsed buildings,
  • fire, and
  • slippery floors. 

Inform the Council about health and safety issues, including:

  • chemical spills,
  • downed power lines,
  • washed out roads,
  • smouldering insulation, and
  • dead stock/animals.

If you are not safe in your home you may need to evacuate or be asked to evacuate to an emergency centre.

Listen to the radio, or check this website to find out which emergency centres are open following an emergency. 

Remember to take your getaway kit, including important personal documents and essential medications etc, with you when you leave your home.

Where have we come from?

In the past, local schools or halls were often used to provide shelter and support during an emergency.  These were called Sector Posts and are still used in some parts of the country, particularly in rural areas of New Zealand.

However, here in Christchurch, we’ve learnt that emergencies come in many shapes and sizes and that we need to be more flexible in the way we’re able to support our communities.  We want to make sure we can respond to any emergency, no matter when or where it happens.  So with this in mind, we’ve made a few changes.

What now?

Instead of having fixed locations, our volunteers will now be able to establish support services in the most suitable areas during an emergency.  If we’re responding to a flood, we can set up in an area that is safe from flooding.  If there’s a tsunami, we can set up outside the tsunami evacuation zones.  If there is a large number of people that require assistance, we can establish services in a facility large enough to support those in need.  These sites are called Civil Defence Centres.

What is a Civil Defence Centre?

A Civil Defence Centre is a place set up and run by Civil Defence Emergency Management and open to the public. Here, we can base our support services, provide food and shelter and assist people that need help.

There are a number of buildings across Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula that could be used as Civil Defence Centres, but the location and number of Centres will depend on the size of event and how we need to support communities.

What next?

One of the best things you can do to get emergency-prepared is to know where you can find up-to-date information during an emergency.  During a response, we will broadcast information, such as whether a Civil Defence Centre has been set up and where it’s located, via the internet, television, radio and through the Christchurch City Council contact centre.

To get the most up-to-date and reliable information during an emergency:

It is handy to have this information printed out or written down somewhere, just so you’ve got it when you need it most.  If you have questions or concerns you can also contact the Christchurch City Council 24/7 on 03 941 8999.  Remember, if life or property is threatened, always dial 111 for Police, Fire or Ambulance.