Wellington not well-prepared for ‘the big one’ – study

Wellington not well-prepared for ‘the big one’ – study | Insurance Business New Zealand

Wellington not well-prepared for ‘the big one’ – study

Wellingtonians are not doing the most preparations for a major earthquake, which includes taking out disaster insurance, a new study reveals.

The survey, conducted by Victoria University of Wellington PhD students Lauren Vinnell and Amanda Wallis, found that only around 12% of Wellingtonians had disaster insurance or had strengthened their houses’ foundations, and only 9.7% had a water tank. Most Wellingtonians (55%) store water, followed by storing food (50%), securing an emergency kit (48%) and having heavy objects stored low (37%).

The report stated that people hadn’t taken these actions simply because they hadn’t thought about it. They hadn’t taken a further five of the actions because they hadn’t got around to it, while cost was considered to be a barrier in purchasing a water tank and getting disaster insurance. Complacency was also noted as an issue.

“These findings are worrying for a city with such a long history of identified fault lines,” Vinnell said. “My work is targeting the base level – the resilience of individuals. If individuals are better able to survive, respond, and recover in a disaster, then communities and cities will have a better chance at doing the same.”

Despite the results, the good news is that the total number of people taking action to prepare themselves is increasing each year, Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) regional manager Jeremy Holmes said.

“Even if you haven’t thought about getting prepared before now, basic preparation doesn’t need to be time-consuming, and there are easy things you can do right now to increase your level of preparedness,” Holmes said. “One of the simplest and most important things you can do is to have a conversation with your family or flatmates about what you would do in an emergency if you couldn’t contact each other.”

The survey, funded by Resilience to Nature’s Challenges, was conducted in November 2017. Data was collected from over 700 residents in Wellington City, the Hutt Valley and Porirua.