It's unhealthy to go through life dreading the cataclysmic.

A poisoned planet, magnetic pole reversal, an extinction level asteroid impact or super volcano eruption –there's no shortage of things to keep folk awake at night.

Nonetheless Tuesday's 6.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked much of the country should be a wake-up call for those who are not as prepared as they could be.

The quake – there may have been two in quick succession – lasted for what seemed an eternity. In reality it was probably only around 30 seconds.

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See story: Science of the earthquake: Magnitude 6.2 shake felt throughout New Zealand

Buildings creaked and groaned, light fittings swayed and the occasional item fell off shelves. Luckily no major damage was done.

At a depth of 207km we escaped what could have been a much worse seismic event.
How many of us have emergency survival kits at the ready and freshly stocked with items as bottled water, matches, a first aid kit? And of course a can opener – every good survival kit should have a can opener.

Who rushes home to check on the pets and house? Or do you check on parents and whanau first?

Probably too few of us.

Or how about a rendezvous point, an agreed location to head for to meet up with loved ones should the big one hit?

That's not as simple as it seems here in Whanganui with the city divided by its river, or its numerous hillside homes - access to which could be easily cut off.

Who rushes home to check on the pets and house? Or do you check on parents and whanau first? It is likely phone, internet and power will be out. Transport will be an issue too.

We have all grown up hearing stories of the Napier quake, and both the Christchurch quakes and the one at Kaikoura, remain relatively fresh in our minds.

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We may hope we are never caught up in such traumatic events. But it's probably a better bet than winning Lotto.

So tonight, put aside a few candles and tins of baked beans, talk to your immediate family about where they should go and how you plan to meet up if, or perhaps when, the big one hits.