If you have a disability or any requirements that may put you at greater risk in an emergency, find advice to get ready.

Make a plan 

In an emergency, civil defence and emergency services will be busy helping the people who need them most. It’s up to you to get ready. That may mean having things like medical supplies or backup power systems for three days or more.

How will an emergency affect you? What if the roads and shops are closed? What if there is no power, water, phone or internet? What if you have to leave home in a hurry?

Talk with your household and your support network about:

  • the types of supplies you might need
  • the support you need, and
  • where you will go if you can’t stay at home.

You should decide what you will be able to do for yourself and what help you may need before, during and after an emergency.

Make a list of your personal needs and your resources for meeting them in an emergency. An emergency can change your ability to deal with your environment. It's important you plan for your lowest level of functioning.

Make sure you're familiar with the plans for your work, school or any other places you spend a lot of time. If your work or school's current plan doesn't make arrangements for disabled people, make sure management knows your needs.

Build a personal support network

Build a support team of people who will help you in an emergency, before you need them. In an emergency, you may need to ask for help to do the things you usually do independently.

The first people to help in an emergency are often your neighbours, friends, caregivers and co-workers. They should be people who are often in the same area as you.

Get to know your neighbours. Share contact details so you can get in touch if an emergency happens. Tell them about your emergency plan and ask about their plans.

Do not depend on one person. That person may not be able to contact you or be available when you need them.

Your support network can help you get ready for an emergency. For example, they can help you check your home or workplace to make sure it is safe and suitable.

Build a support team at each place where you spend a large part of your day. Talk with your support team about your emergency plan. This can help your network members learn the best way to help you and give you other ideas to think about.

Practice your plan with your support network. Include how you will Drop, Cover and Hold in an earthquake and how you will evacuate if you are in a tsunami or flood zone.

Agree on how you will contact each other during an emergency. How will you contact each other if internet and phone lines are down?

Get your network to check on you immediately if you are is advised to evacuate.

Make sure you have any supplies you may need

In an emergency, roads and shops could close for days. Make sure you have supplies for at least three days. Include any medicine or special equipment you may need.

  • If you need to refrigerate your medical supplies, make sure you have an alternative power supply or refrigeration system.
  • Wear a medical alert tag or bracelet to identify your disability or health condition.
  • Work out what supplies you need.Have essential supplies in a grab bag in case you need to leave in a hurry.
  • If you are traveling, let a hotel or motel manager know your needs in case of an emergency.
  • Know where to go for help if you are dependent on life-sustaining equipment or treatment that might not work in an emergency.
  • If you have dietary requirements or food allergies, make sure you have enough food for up to three days. You should also include snack food in your grab bag and make sure your meeting place is stocked with long-lasting, suitable foods.
  • If you have asthma or a respiratory disorder, make sure your grab bag has dust masks (rated P2 or N95). Emergencies like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes can make it harder to breathe.

If you are blind or have a visual impairment 

If you are blind or have a visual impairment, you may have to depend on others if you have to evacuate or go to an unfamiliar Civil Defence Centre.

  • If you have a guide dog, make sure you have a grab bag for them with food, medications, vaccination records, identification and harnesses.
  • Keep extra canes at home and in the workplace, even if you use a guide dog. Animals may become confused or disoriented in an emergency.
  • Trained service animals can stay in emergency shelters with their owners. 
Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind logo

The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind has advice on earthquake preparedness for people who are blind or have a visual impairment.

Disability assist dogs

Disability Assist Dogs are your responsibility. You need to include them in your emergency planning and preparation.

If you have an assistance dog, certify it with an authorised organisation.

Get a Disability Assist Dog identification tag. This is a unique tag worn by a certified dog for easy identification of Disability Assist Dog status. Make sure your dog is wearing its identification tag at all times. The tag gives service dogs access to civil defence centres in an emergency. It also supports rapid reunification if you and your dog are separated.

Plan for your dog. Have a grab bag for your dog with food, medications, vaccination records, identification and harnesses.

Make sure your dog knows the people in your support network. This will make it easier for your dog to accept care from someone other than you.

Get ready

There are simple steps you can take to make sure you and your whānau are ready to get through.