Keeping Safe

Planning and preparing for the unexpected

As we know only too well in New Zealand emergency situations can occur without much warning. Experience gained from the Canterbury earthquakes, Auckland flooding, and the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle in 2023 shows the importance of being prepared for these emergency events and other situations that may put our safety at risk.

Emergency contacts

We should all have a list of emergency contacts in our home. It should be in a place where those living in the home and those who visit frequently can find it. Some people attach the list to their fridge with a magnet, or by the front door in their “grab and go” emergency folder of important documents.

Here is a basic emergency contact list you can use. You can add more if you want to but this is a good place to start:

  • Family doctor name and number:
  • Local hospital number:
  • Non-emergency police number:
  • School contact for each child:
  • Neighbour contact:
  • Next of kin: 
  • Vet information:
  • Power and gas companies:
  • Family medications or medical needs:

Keeping safe at home

The Police Managers’ Guild Trust has excellent information on its site about keeping safe in your home. Topics range from fire safety to household safety and security. You can access this information here.

Emergency events

Emergency events may prevent us from leaving our homes for several days such as flooding, earthquakes, and abnormal weather. If you have a disability or any requirements that may put you at greater risk in an emergency, you need to prepare as much as you can. In an emergency, civil defence and emergency services will be busy helping the people who need them most. It’s up to you to get ready. That may mean having things like medical supplies or backup power systems for three days or more.


How will an emergency affect you? What if the roads and shops are closed? What if there is no power, water, phone or internet? What if you have to leave home in a hurry?


Talk with your household and your support network about:

  • the types of supplies you might need
  • the support you need, and
  • where you will go if you can’t stay at home.

Think about what you will do if:

  • things have moved around or broken, or there is debris
  • familiar landmarks move or are destroyed
  • your service animal is hurt or too frightened to work.

You can find some very good advice for disabled people on getting prepared for emergency events on the Get Ready site here

Being Street Smart

Being street smart is an important skill to have and a good way to take care of yourself. Learn about neighbourhoods, transport systems, and emergency services in whatever area you find yourself in. Avoid dangerous spots and situations, and stay as alert as possible at all times. Always trust your instincts and err on the side of caution.


For some useful tips on staying alert and being safe, click here