Disaster Awareness Message Gets Through in Wellington

10 August 2011

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has welcomed new survey results that show disaster-awareness and preparedness has risen sharply in Wellington.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management survey results, released today, show that a third - 33% - of Wellington residents are fully prepared for a disaster. This is higher than the national average (18%), and represents a big increase from last year (up from 18% to 33%).

The proportion of Wellingtonians who are prepared at home in the event of a disaster is higher than the national average (51% against a national average of 32%), and has increased since last year (from 34% to 51%).

Mayor Wade-Brown says "the Canterbury earthquakes have undoubtedly had a huge impact on the way Wellingtonians think.

"This is encouraging news but Wellingtonians must still aim for a higher standard in preparedness at home and at work."

She adds that a major restructuring of the Wellington Emergency Management Office in the past two years has made an important contribution. The city's volunteer network was reorganised and benefitted from a recruitment drive.

Wellington City Council's Emergency Preparedness Manager, Fred Mecoy, adds that the tragedies of Christchurch and in tsunami-devastated Japan have transfixed Wellingtonians.

"Anecdotally we know that thousands of people in the city have made the effort to get prepared - we know, probably more than other New Zealanders, that what's happened in Canterbury and Japan could happen in Wellington at any time.

"But of course this is no time to get complacent in Wellington - we have to get far more people prepared."

According to the nationwide Ministry survey, conducted by phone by Colmar Brunton, Wellington residents are more likely than average to say they are quite or very well prepared for a disaster (73% compared to a 60% national average). They are also more likely than average to say that people should have an emergency supply of essential items (88% against a 77% national average), and an emergency / survival plan (57% against a 47% national average) to prepare for a disaster.

The proportion of Wellington residents who have taken steps in the past 12 months to prepare for a disaster is higher than average (83% compared to a 60% national average).

Wellington residents are more likely than average to say they have been prompted to take steps to prepare due to the Christchurch earthquakes (81% compared to a 60% national average).

Of those who say they were prompted to take steps to prepare because of the Christchurch earthquakes, a higher than average proportion say the Christchurch earthquakes raised their awareness of what could happen in a disaster (19% compared to a 10% national average).