Rotorua residents were taught a lesson or two on how to deal with a disaster over the weekend as Red Cross teams practised their disaster skills.

Red Cross New Zealand hosted several Red Cross volunteer disaster welfare support teams in the city for its annual North Island exercise over the weekend.

Nine North Island-based teams came from as far north as Whangarei and as far south as Wellington/Kapiti Coast.

About 120 volunteers set up scenarios consistent with the Red Cross support obligations under the National Civil Defence Plan.

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Rotorua Red Cross volunteer disaster welfare support team leader David Horgan said the weekend was a great success.

"It's been a fun weekend. We got to test out some of our systems and got to work with some other agencies.

"We were able to give out safety packs and we had about five to six smoke alarms installed throughout Owhata."

They spent time in Owhata and Lake Okareka in association with the Mokoia Community Association, the Rotorua Lakes Council and the Fire Service.

They went door to door in Owhata seeing how well prepared people were and providing them with information on emergency packs and plans as well as smoke alarms.

Mr Horgan said they also did outreach and door knocking throughout Lake Okareka.

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At Lake Okareka they conducted a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assessment to see how much water they would need to live on during an emergency.

"We are still collecting the data for that but it should be available soon. We all learned some really good lessons from the exercise," Mr Horgan said.

An emergency supply kit should include:
• Up to seven days' supply of food and water
• Food for your pets
• Something to cook on
• Torch/radio and batteries
• Warm and waterproof clothing and comfortable footwear
• First aid kit and medicines
• Toiletries
• Backpack
• Personal items such as important documents/passports/licences should be kept in a safe place