Pupils taken through tsunami drill

By Kiri Gillespie

About 380 school children were taken through a tsunami evacuation procedure in Tauranga, yesterday.

Pupils at St Mary's Catholic School took part in a trial tsunami evacuation , filing into walking buses and moving to higher ground.

The children gathered for a roll call before walking up 13th Ave to Fraser St, which they then crossed with assistance from Tauranga police, who stopped traffic for the event.

Guided by teachers in high-visibility vests, the children continued on to Tauranga Boys' College where they gathered again on the school's southern field.

Evacuation co-ordinator Maryanna Casey said they had an agreement with Tauranga Boys' College to use their facilities as their evacuation station if a natural disaster hit.

Ms Casey acknowledged that in reality, if a tsunami was to hit, children would not necessarily be wearing sun hats and they did not expect police to be available to stop traffic for them.

"They are aware this is just pretend.

"It's about making sure the children know what to do in an emergency. We are trying to get our community aware so everybody's aware. It might not happen in school time. We really want it so whatever happens, every child knows what to do, how to look after themselves and what's the best thing to do in that situation."

The school also asks families of children to bring a bottle of water and can of food in case a disaster hit.

Western Bay of Plenty head of road police acting Senior Sergeant Wayne Hunter said he was concerned that stopping of traffic would create a large back up but things ran smoothly with little delay.

"I'm quite glad at how well it went. It's a bit of a wake up call actually. It got me thinking, if something did happen involving schools."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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