Step 5. Have an emergency grab bag Grab bag

A grab bag or getaway kit is a small backpack of essential items to grab if you have to quickly evacuate your home or workplace with little or no warning. It's especially important if you have to walk a long way to get home during an emergency.

Remember not to include so many items that your bag becomes heavy, especially if you have a lot of distance to cover to get home or to your safe meeting place.

Evacuation to-do list 

In some instances, you may have some time before you need to evacuate. Before an emergency, go around your house and list all the items you will want to pack during an emergency (valuables, pets, important documents and the things you can’t live without) and then create a list of actions to do before evacuating (turning off utilities, closing and locking the doors).

If you ever do need to evacuate, you can complete the checklist and avoid forgetting your most important items. 

Make your own grab bag

The most cost-effective option is making your own grab bag.

You just need a sturdy backpack which would be comfortable to carry a long distance, then fill it with the items you need.

Remember to change to the food/water in your bag at regular intervals.

What should you put in your emergency grab bag?

Below is a list of 'must-haves', 'should-have' and 'nice-to-have' items for your DIY grab bag:

Must-have essential items Useful 'should-have' items 'Nice to have' items
Face-covering or mask A printed copy of identification Entertainment (pack of cards, book, music player, etc)
Water and water purification tablets Phone charger Glow sticks
Food  Gloves Matches
Walking shoes Dust mask Flash drive with photos of all the rooms and contents
Cash Extra batteries Small shovel
First aid kit Hand sanitizer Hi-vis vest
Any medication you rely on, along with a copy of the prescription Whistle Swiss army knife
Rain jacket and poncho   Waste disposal bags
Emergency blanket    
Radio (battery or wind-up)    
Notebook and pen    
Pet supplies    

Photos for insurance

Take photos of all the rooms and contents in your home and save them onto a flash drive. Put this in your grab bag.

Buy a pre-made grab bagGrab and Go's one Person Kit

WREMO has partnered with Grab&Go to make getaway kits available at a reasonable price. 

You will still need to add personal items such as sturdy shoes, hygiene items and your own food. 

Grab&Go bags are available online (Grab&Go website) 

They are also available from many retail outlets around the Wellington Region.


Go to Step 6: Make your home safer

Safer home

Making your home safer will reduce the damage during an earthquake and allow you to stay in your home, even if it is a bit messed up.

There are some easy ways to make your property more resilient. If you are unable to do this yourself, get someone to help you.

Go to Step 6 to view a checklist you can use as a starter to make your home safer


Attend a household earthquake planning sessionFind out more at a Household Earthquake Planning session

Attend a free one-hour session to get tips on how you, your household and whānau can stay safe and get through.

The session covers:

  • What could happen your area in an earthquake
  • How to stay safe
  • Key points for your emergency plan
  • Essential emergency supplies
  • How neighbours can help each other

Attend a Household Earthquake Planning Session