This information is for children to understand and prepare for emergencies.

Emergencies are unexpected disasters. They can cause damage to the places we live and put our own safety at risk.

Earthquakes, fires, storms, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslips, gas leaks, and chemical spills are some examples of emergencies that could happen in New Zealand.

Potential damage

Emergencies that make the ground move (like earthquakes, eruptions, and landslips) can cause damage to buildings and roads. Some emergencies (floods or tsunamis) can trap people in buildings. Other emergencies (like fires, gas leaks, or chemical spills) can make the air dangerous to breathe.

Other things that could happen are:

  • power lines coming down
  • water pipes bursting
  • roads being blocked
  • things being washed away
  • windows breaking
  • large objects being blown around.

Have a plan

Check out the following online resource for students and teachers on what to do in an emergency - it's in both English and te reo Māori.

Use it to sort out a plan on what you and your students should do before, during and after an emergency.

What's the Plan Stan?

Home survival plan

Your family needs to have a plan for what to do if there is an emergency, and where to find each other if you have been separated. Talk with your family about how to prepare for an emergency and the survival items you'll need: You should talk with your family about these things:

Get help in an emergency

There are a lot of groups that know what to do and are ready to help if there is an emergency.

People who can help What they can do

provide first aid

take people to hospital

City Council workers

fix broken roads and footpaths

fix broken water pipes

Civil Defence

coordinate helpers


provide first aid

care for sick or injured people

Earthquake Commission (EQC)

help people pay for damage to their property

Electricity supply companies

fix power supplies to buildings

fix broken power lines

Fire brigade

put out fires

rescue people with ladders

supply water

pump out flooded areas

Gas companies

fix gas supplies to buildings

fix broken gas pipes


care for sick or injured people

Insurance companies

help people pay for damage to their property


keep you safe if you are at home

Phone companies

fix phone connections to buildings

fix broken phone lines


make sure neighbourhoods are safe

find people who are missing and help their families

help with search and rescue

help people get out of buildings

Radio and television

tell people what's happening and what to do

Red Cross

provide food

provide clothing and blankets

help find missing people

Salvation Army

provide food

provide somewhere to sleep for people who have to leave their homes

St John's Ambulance

provide first aid


keep you safe if you are at school


care for animals that are sick or injured