Survival kits grow in popularity

By Roger Moroney

The number of Napier people with emergency survival kits has risen about 15 per cent since a survey carried out by Civil Defence four years ago.

Nearly 60 per cent of homes now have a survival kit - with a noticeable spike in the numbers in 2010 and 2011.

There had been little movement before that, despite high-profile campaigns, Civil Defence manager Angela Reade said.

The big increases occurred around the first Christchurch earthquake in September 2010 - then during the first quarter of 2011 when the second 'quake struck, as well as the devastating tsunami which struck the northern coast of Japan.

"On reviewing the amount of public education and promotional material developed to encourage people to develop an emergency kit, it seems that they are only inspired to do so when there is a high profile emergency event."

Mrs Reade said while about 40 per cent of the city's population did not have an emergency kit the number with them was still above the national average.

She said there was still room for improvement in the radio stakes however.

The survey showed 77.7 per cent of households have a battery or wind-up radio.

"We have been giving that a push because communication is key during times of emergency."

The figures were drawn from a survey carried out among nearly 900 people, from across the city, who responded to a Civil Defence questionnaire carried out after the emergency siren test in March.

Mrs Reade said there was a slight decrease in the number of people who heard the siren compared to last year.

About 83 per cent of the populace heard the siren.

Civil Defence had drawn up a map showing where the sirens were, and were not, heard.

There were two areas which stood out - one along the Bay View coastal stretch and a pocket around Higgins St in Marewa where five people said they could not hear the sirens.

While the Marewa area may have been a possible case of wind direction, Civil Defence will be looking into the Bay View area.

Several people said "background noise" such as appliances operating dulled the sound of the sirens. Some also said they could only hear them when outdoors.

Others said they were "loud and clear".

Mrs Reade said she was pleased to read that many surveyed said they had called friends and family upon hearing the sirens - to see if they had heard them.

"That's good," she said, adding that phone "trees" were as important as battery radios in terms of communication.

"If you hear the siren call and tell others - and listen to the radio."

The sirens will be tested again in September.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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