Kāpiti gets tsunami ready
The recent national tsunami warning on 5 March was a timely reminder for all New Zealanders that you can never be too prepared for an emergency. Knowing your tsunami evacuation zone and the fastest route to safety is the best way to be prepared should a large earthquake affect the Kāpiti Coast.
This month the Kāpiti Coast District Council is working in partnership with the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO) to raise awareness of the need to be tsunami ready.
Kāpiti Coast District Council Emergency Controller, James Jefferson says the Kāpiti Coast is a seismically active area and we live with the risk that a large earthquake could affect us at any time.
“With our coastline running the length of our district, a local source earthquake could potentially see a tsunami arriving on our Coast within as little as three minutes.
“We can’t predict when earthquakes and tsunami will happen, but we can do is help protect ourselves and our whānau by being prepared,” said Mr Jefferson.
“More than 9000 homes and businesses that are located within our tsunami evacuation zones will soon receive an “Are you Prepared for a Tsunami?” booklet in their letterbox to help them get better prepared.
“Recognising the warning signs of a tsunami and knowing what to do and where to go if a long or strong earthquake strikes will significantly increase your chances of survival.
“We know from tsunami overseas that planning and being prepared saves lives so we are encouraging everyone who lives or works in a tsunami evacuation zone to familiarise themselves with the long or strong, get gone mantra and to make a plan.”
In Kāpiti, there are three tsunami evacuation zones. The red tsunami evacuation zone is the beach and sand dunes and is at highest risk. The orange zone is the dune adjacent to the beach and the streets closest to the beach and rivers. The yellow zone is a further 200 to 300 metres inland from the beach and includes low lying areas close to rivers.
Mr Jefferson says in the event of a local source earthquake that generates a tsunami there won’t be time for official warnings.
“The most important tsunami warning system is a natural one. Basically, if you live, work or play near the coast and you feel a long or strong earthquake, one that lasts longer than a minute or is strong enough to knock you off your feet, get gone - do not wait for an official warning, evacuate immediately,” Mr Jefferson said.
Tsunami evacuation maps for Kāpiti can be viewed on the Council’s website.