Emergency planStep 4. Create an emergency plan for your household

In an emergency, such as an earthquake, communication networks are likely to fail and prevent you from connecting with your loved ones. It is very possible that many of your most important assets (your property, your car, furniture) could be damaged or destroyed.

Having some basic plans in place will keep you safer, let you connect with your loved ones faster and protect some of your most important assets.

Doing these easy steps will give you much greater peace of mind and ensure that your life is less disrupted.

1. Collecting children from school

Schools have plans to keep your children safe.

Where should you collect your children?

  • You should know your school's plan and the location you need to collect your children.
  • If the school is in a tsunami zone, don't rush to the school to pick up your child after an earthquake. Speak to your school now to understand their evacuation plan.

Check out your school’s emergency plan

Who can collect them?

  • Arrange at least three friends or family within walking distance of the school to collect your children for you. Give their names to your school.
  • Talk with your children about what they could expect and who could collect them if you can’t get there.

sitting in the kitchen

2. Agree on a safe meeting place

Start by having a conversation with your household and decide on a place where you will go to find each other.

  • Agree where you would go if you couldn't go home or to your meeting place.
  • If you work or go to school in different places, consider this in your plan into you reconnecting with each other.
  • Identify friends or family that you could stay with if you couldn't go home.

3. Sort out home and contents insurance

Most people are under-insured for their home and contents.

After the Christchurch earthquake, insurers in New Zealand moved from a full replacement model to a sum-insured model. 

Make sure that your home and your possessions are insured for the right amount. Contact your insurer to discuss.  

Read about natural disaster insurance (eqc.govt.nz)

4. Put together an emergency grab bag for home and work

Grab bags

You might have to leave home in a hurry and never go back, or walk a long distance to get home from work. Think about what items you will need and put together a grab bag. You can do this yourself and it doesn’t have to be expensive. 

You need to be able to grab a bag with the basic essentials to get you through the next few hours or days. A pair of walking shoes, jacket, water and snacks are a good start.

Read more about making or buying an emergency grab bag

5. Know how to switch off your utilities


Find your gas main valve (if you have gas), main power switch, water toby, and learn how to turn them off. Mark them clearly so you can find them quickly and tell others in your household what to do. Damaged utilities (gas, electric and water) can be dangerous and prevent you from staying in your home.

For example, having a fire extinguisher for your household could help prevent small fires from becoming a big fire. 

Read more about how to prevent a fire following an earthquake (wremo.nz)

6. Get your neighbours' contact details

Your neighbours are your first and best source of support in an emergency. If you haven't already connected with people on your street, swapping contact details in case of an emergency is a good conversation starter. 

Read more about connecting with your neighbours

7. Know the location of your nearest Community Emergency Hub

Hub Logo

After you have checked on your household and neighbours, you can go to your local Community Emergency Hub. It's a place where people in your neighbourhood can support each other and work out what to do next. 

Use our online map to find your nearest Hub

8. Make a note of your local radio station frequency

Record the frequency for your local radio stations in your emergency plan. 

View a list of Radio New Zealand's (RNZ) list of radio station frequencies (rnz.co.nz)

Emergency Plan - online template (GetReady.govt.nz)

Fill out a template Emergency Plan on the national Get Ready website. Fill in the form then print it out, stick it on the fridge and make sure everyone knows the plan. Alternatively, save it as a PDF and email it to your family/flatmates/friends.

Make an emergency plan (GetReady.govt.nz)

Translated resources - make a household emergency plan

View and download translated information and templates in multiple languages about making an emergency plan for your household (getready.govt.nz) 

Go to Step 5: Have an emergency grab bag

make a grab bag

You can choose to make your own or buy a pre-made 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.

Go to Step 5 to view our list of items to include in your emergency grab bag


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