Be Prepared Month: That’s a wrap (up)

Before penning the thrilling conclusion to Be Prepared Month, I’d like to say a little bit about Christchurch.

When your author flew there at the end of June, I was pretty shocked by the amount and extent of the damage I saw. Television really is no substitute for the real thing.

What stood out equally, but for happier reasons, was the new Cashel Mall. (As always, click on the image for a larger one.)

  Cashel Mall containers in Christchurch

A classic example of Kiwis thinking outside the square, Cashel Mall has transformed itself into container city. Go inside one of the new shops and you wouldn’t know you were standing inside a shipping container rather than an actual building. They’re light, bright and a godsend to those businesses shut down by the February quake. I had arrived the day after a noticeable aftershock and one shop employee told me how much safer she felt in a container than one of the old, since demolished, buildings.


Yesterday saw the announcement of the blueprint for the new CBD. It’s going to feature plenty of greenery, and a new 35,000 seat covered stadium just a few minutes walk from the city centre. It has gained support across the political spectrum – no mean feat. There is still the issue of what will happen in the suburbs but this announcement was always about the CBD, an area that has to be done right in order to attract people and business back south.

I for one am excited; no offence to my newly adopted home town of Hamilton, but the Christchurch V2.0 could potentially be New Zealand’s most liveable city.

Check out the CCDU’s video presentation below:

If you’re avoiding Christchurch for whatever reason, stop. Come down, check out the city – definitely visit Cashel Mall – and give them your support.

And now, the wrap up.

Over the last 31 days we’ve posted five articles on how and why you should be prepared for an emergency or a disaster. Statistics New Zealand’s research shows just 18 percent of us are ‘basically prepared’ for a disaster – that is, they have three days of food and water along with a household emergency plan. Your author is a mean mathematician himself and has figured this means 82 percent of New Zealanders are unprepared, and thus more vulnerable than most.

Our goal for Be Prepared Month was simple: change these numbers. Let you know what the risks are and how you can get yourselves ready to deal with them best you can. If you haven’t seen our handy guides yet, or if you want a refresher, check out these links:

Getting the basics sorted: Our guide to putting together a kit with three days worth of food, water, and other essentials. Special celebrity guest: Fat MacGyver.

Tonnes of readers’ advice: We were swamped with some great tips, especially from our Christchurch readers, so we put the best of it together for easy referral. Special celebrity guests: Stephen J. Cannell and Scrooge McDuck.

Putting an emergency plan together: What is involved in drawing up a Household Emergency Plan? Special celebrity guests: The A Team.

What are the odds? We analyse our earthquake habits and ask: is New Zealand getting shakier? No special celebrity guests but a bunch of cool graphs.

What are the odds 2 – More crystal ball gazing: A look at our land’s (if not our people’s) love of floods, tsunami and volcanoes. Special celebrity guest: Hulk Hogan.

Also over the past month we’ve helped prepare 26 lucky people by giving away some great looking emergency food buckets on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

These buckets from Wise Company contain 84 servings each, which would feed a family of four for a week, or an eligible bachelor/bachelorette for a month. The response from you all has been fantastic – both online, and when our photographers have been showing them off to agents and vendors. We also snapped photos of a couple of happy winners.


So what, if nothing else, should you remember from this month?

–       At least three days worth of food should be stored safely away. Stick to dried and canned food as well as nuts and crackers.

–       You’ll need three litres of water per person per day. Put a few drops of bleach in each bottle – that’ll teach them. Actually it’ll help keep the water fresh. Put away three extra litres per day for washing, dishes and cooking.

–       Print off this Household Emergency Plan form and fill it out.

–       Other very useful things to pack include a wind up radio, a little gas stove, baby wipes, and your essential documents in an easy to reach place.

And, most of all, don’t worry too much. Sounds like a weird thing to say – but if you’re well stocked, and have a game plan in place, you really don’t need to panic. If and when something happens, you and your loved ones will be ready.

So there you go, our epic month-long guide to being prepared. We really hope you’ve not only found it useful but enjoyable too. Thank you to those great sources of knowledge we’ve borrowed from, especially GeoNet and Get Thru, and to all of you who have read, shared our posts or touched base with us.

But on the off chance you read through all of this and thought “duh, I knew all of that already”, here’s a parting gift. Bet you didn’t know you could do this!

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