Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Easy - in Chinese!

It's Easy - Get prepared for an emergency - now available in Chinese!

We know that English is not always the first language that people speak in our region, but we want everyone to know just how easy it is to prepare for an emergency, so our award-winning preparedness booklet has been translated into Chinese.

Hopefully this will be just the first other language we translate it into, with more languages to come in the future.

It's Easy - Chinese version - pdf - 960kb - 12 pages Image links to the pdf (960kb)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A quake of our own

Apparently we had an earthquake of our very own today at 8:13 pm.
Moment Magnitude 3.5 (we don't actually use the Richter Scale any more, moment magnitude measures the energy released)
Modified Mercalli 4 (measures the amount of shaking at the surface - effectively the damaged caused, or what people observed to be happening)
Focal depth 33km down, and located 10km North of Porirua.

I didn't feel a thing, did anyone else notice it?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Volcanic Ash - Im in ur airspace, groundin ur planez

For those of you who aren't geeky enough to get the title -


Volcanoes are usually on the list of disaster-causing natural hazards that any 6 year old from Titahi Bay School or Cannons Creek School would name. In the earthquakey-lava-erupting sense, they aren't so much of a problem for the Wellington region, though Ruapehu might occasionally ruin your ski season. Our big problem comes from volcanic ash.

From local volcanoes you can get ash coating everything in reach - like this example from near Chaiten in Chile causing serious problems for agriculture.

And then you can get volcanoes in other continents spewing out ash into the atmosphere, which can then be blown across the world, creating a hazard for any aircraft trying to fly through it.

Last year we had an ash cloud thrown up by Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced badly by at least one person as "I'll have a yogurt yurtle"), in Iceland shutting down aircraft travel over much of Europe - costing billion of dollars in lost revenue, and travellers having to work out other ways to get to where they needed to be. Another Icelandic volcano, Grimsvotn, is disrupting their local air traffic right now, and we have the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano in Chile doing exactly the same thing to us, all the way over here in NZ.

Our New Zealand volcanoes would have a similar effect when they decide to erupt next.

Unfortunately for us, Chile's volcanoes put out more ash than Iceland's, so this ash cloud may be disrupting our local air traffic for quite some time yet, so look out for low-flying kiwis trying to stay below it.

Some awesome photos from Chile -

Monday, June 13, 2011

More quakes

I was about to make a post about the volcanic ash problem, but then Christchurch was hit by a series of large aftershocks, the largest at 2:20pm measuring magnitude 6.0, and 8 on the Mercalli scale which measures the intensity of the shaking.

Once again, social media like Twitter and Facebook have been providing rapid reports of what's going on, leaving the news media to play catch-up. The Twitter feed on the article on is pretty interesting reading.

First hand reports of the effects of the quakes can be quite vital - and a great way to know that your friends are okay enough to be typing and texting. Sometimes inaccurate information gets forwarded around, so it generally pays to verify that before taking it as gospel.

So far there are reports of more liquefaction, power, phone, & water outages. A few buildings have collapsed, but they were, for the most part, red stickered after the previous quakes. The Red Zone has been expanded back out again, as the already unstable buildings have been further destabilised.

Here in Porirua we're making sure that our staff are ready & able to return to Christchurch to lend a hand like we did after the February quake, or help locally with any regional response.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Unlucky Lego Man

Some absolutely fabulous emergency preparedness videos by Chloe & Sophie Crowe from Ngaio School in Wellington.

Fantastic work, guys! I think we could all learn a thing or two from Unlucky Lego Man.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Enjoy Queen's Birthday Weekend

If you are heading out of town for the long weekend, remember to take extra care on the roads. Don't forget, if you get caught driving 5km over the speed limit, you will get a ticket!

The weather looks like it's going to be pretty variable around the country - hopefully it's nice where you're going, but keep an eye on the forecast.

And finally, take survival items for the kids and you on the journey... food, games, drink, blankets (especially for the Desert Road), music and lots of patience.