How to get prepared for an emergency

We recommend that you take the time to look at both of these videos developed by Civil Defence & Emergency Management and the Auckland Council. Although they highlight the Auckland Region, the messages and information are applicable for wherever you may reside within New Zealand:

Knowing your local emergency hazards

Across all three campuses, Massey University is exposed to the full range of hazards that New Zealand presents. Regional Councils in the three cities with Massey campuses all have hazard information on their websites.

Sign up for Regional Alerts

To keep informed of Regional events as they happen, we recommend that you sign up for text alerts from your Regional Council (text alerts will only be sent in potentially life threatening situations):

Download the Red Cross Hazards App from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store

Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office

Auckland Council Civil Defence & Emergency Management

NZ Civil Defence Twitter Feed 

Getting prepared

Each regional and local council has its own preparedness information. Most of this information is similar across different regions, because being prepared for most hazards requires the same steps.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management's Get Ready Get Thru website provides the information and resources you need to help you get prepared. Find out how to:

Simple emergency preparedness steps for everyone, everywhere

Having a plan for what to do if you cannot get back home or back to your family is important in every situation, from students that live on campus to staff that commute long distances to work at the University.

Contact plan

  1. Work out a plan for making contact with and getting back to your family; this might be a common contact point, such as a family member in another region.
  2. Make sure you have contact details for your family stored in several places; for example, in your phone's memory, in your contacts on an email service, and written down at home.
  3. Share contact details with your friends and colleagues so they can get a message to your family if something happens to you.
  4. Make sure you have access to details like the physical address of your children's schools and your parents' or partner’s workplace.
  5. Staff - Keep your emergency contacts in the HR Yourself Portal up to date.
  6. Find out the emergency plans for your family members' schools and workplaces.
  7. Make sure you have family or friends authorised to collect your children from school if you cannot get to them.
  8. If you have family living, working or going to school in another part of the city (or region), have a meeting place in those areas so you can find each other.

Note: You might only be able to get one text out if the mobile networks are overloaded. If you already have a plan for contacting your family, you’ll know that that one text will get the message to everyone.


  1. Staff Personal Emergency Backpacks
  2. If you have medication that you have to take every day, keep at least three days of supply with you.
  3. Keep prescription details with you. If you wear contact lenses, consider keeping a spare pair of eyeglasses with you or at work.

computer Data - back up

Back up and protect your essential information.

Different subjects may require different forms of backup and record keeping. Saving backup copies of an essay is easy, but students who create physical work (as in Design and Engineering majors) should consider taking photographs, video and copies of their notes, sketches and other concept development stages.

Consider backing up electronic information and work to a file storage service that is not in the same region as your campus. Several potential solutions exist:

  1. If you have few essential files, burn them to a CD or DVD and post the discs to a remote location.
  2. If you have large amounts of data (several gigabytes), copy files to an external hard drive and keep it in a secure location.

Being prepared at home

Being prepared at home is all about having enough of the essential items for day-to-day life on hand to let you shelter at home for at least three days.

While different hazards present different problems, many of the hazards that Wellington is exposed to could lead to areas of the region being cut off from one another. In a really large event you are more likely to have to stay in your own home than you are to evacuate. Even if you evacuate your home, you will probably be better off if you can stay with friends or neighbours than in an evacuation centre.

Being prepared at home doesn’t have to mean having a large kit full of supplies just for use in an emergency, but most people could probably benefit from stocking up on a few items. Step one in getting prepared at home would be to make a list of what you already have. You may only need a little bit of organisation to make sure you can find things like sleeping bags, blankets and a torch when you need them.

Things to consider

  1. Have you got at least one large, easy to carry bag that you can put supplies into if you had to evacuate?
  2. Put all the loose first aid supplies that live at the bottom of a bathroom drawer into a plastic container so they stay together and can be taken with you.
  3. Make sure your essential documents (passports, insurance policy details, birth certificates) are easy to collect and carry.
  4. If you have a torch that you use regularly, make sure there are spare batteries in your household kit.
  5. How will you cook?
  6. If you have a gas barbeque, fill the cylinder before it gets completely empty.
  7. Small, portable gas stoves can be bought for as little as $35, including enough gas cylinders for a few days of cooking.
  8. Adding a few tins and packets of food with a long shelf-life will help you make the best use of the food you normally have at home.


Three litres of water per person per day is the bare minimum of water you should have stored. The more water you can store the better. Wellington residents should consider having much more stored; the water supply in the Region is especially vulnerable, because it relies on a single pipeline.

All the Regional and local authority websites listed have information on storing water.

For Wellington staff and anyone else interested, you can find more information on installing rainwater storage.

Whatever you use for storing water, it is a good idea to have at least one container at home that is easy to carry in case you have to collect water from a distribution point.

Being prepared at work

At work, your preparations for emergencies need to reflect how difficult it would be for you to get home and how easy it will be to get to your family or for them to get to you. The general advice about contact details and backing up your work still applies, with additional information below.


Everyone on campus should have at least enough water to get them through one day and a walk home, if that is practical. The drink bottle supplied with University emergency backpacks is a start, but another supply of at least three litres is recommended. Just like at home, water storage doesn’t have to be more complicated than rinsing out a soft drink or juice bottle and refilling it with tap water.


Walking a significant distance is likely to be necessary during many events. You could also find yourself assisting with normal or emergency tasks on campus during an emergency. Walking might be the only way to get home.

We recommend that anyone who doesn’t normally wear shoes they would walk home in should keep a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes at work. These could easily be a pair of shoes that are almost ready to be thrown away but have a little life left in them.

More advice for Massey University staff can be found at Health and Safety > Emergency Information.


Contact details and back up

Keep contact details for parents and other family easily accessible.

Get to know other students from your home region. Have a group who can share information and pass messages if only one person can communicate.

If you have to leave the city, have a group to travel with and support each other.

Keep copies of important work—the more copies the better. You can use whatever format you like, but don’t trust your degree to a $100 portable hard drive, and don't keep just one copy on your computer.

Have a large bag that you can carry easily, used to take your important possessions, spare clothes, bedding, etc., in case you have to evacuate your flat or student accommodation. 

Water and food

Water at least is cheap. Use old soft drink, juice, or any other bottle with an air-tight cap to store tap water.

If the budget stretches enough for you to store some food, but you don’t have access to cooking facilities, make sure you keep food that you can eat without heating. Protein bars, "One Square Meal" bars, trail mix, and other nutrient-dense foods appropriate for hiking and camping are all good choices for an emergency food kit.

Access to a radio

If the mobile networks and internet are unavailable, an AM/FM radio will be one of the best ways to get information in an emergency. As long as someone in your flat or building has a battery-operated radio or a car with a radio, you should be able to organise to hear important updates.

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey