Behind the campaign
For the last three years we've mainly been known for the work we do in Canterbury following the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. But we do more. Part of our role has always been to educate New Zealand about being prepared in case of a natural disaster. With our new preparedness campaign we want to motivate people to make the necessary changes in their homes to help protect their loved ones and their homes and contents if an earthquake happens.
The ad explained: The Chimney
How can a falling chimney compare to the impact of a car? Find out more about the ad from seismologist, Prof Euan Smith
The ad explained : The Wardrobe
How can a falling wardrobe compare to a cinder block suspended above a baby's cot? Find out more about the ad from seismologist, Prof Euan Smith.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is EQC putting resources into 'Fix. Fasten. Don't Forget' when the job in Christchurch hasn't been finished?
- EQC is doing both. Educating New Zealanders on natural disasters and ways of reducing their impact is one of our core functions. Helping people to be prepared before an earthquake hits is as important as helping recovery afterwards.
- Why are we doing this public education campaign?
- Our latest research shows that New Zealanders are more aware of the need to be prepared, but haven't quite got round to it. For example, 73% of people know they should secure tall furniture, but only 11% have done so. 40% know they should secure their hot water cylinder but only 2% have done so. 31% express intent to do something (Nielsen, April 2013).
- Is it worth securing items in the home if an earthquake can destroy the whole place anyway?
- New Zealand has approximately 15,000 earthquakes a year. You are most likely to experience a small or moderate sized one – like the recent Cook Strait events. These can still cause damage to your home, so it's better to be prepared than not.
- What's the most important thing I should secure in the home?
- Ideally every home would have everything secured – TVs, artwork, photos and other valuable personal items, heavy furniture, water cylinders, floor bearers attached to piles. Have metal flue chimneys rather than brick. At an absolute minimum, you should secure heavy items and heavy furniture.
- Is EQC just doing this to save money on paying out claims?
- Saving life, preventing injury and helping people protect family valuables is important to EQC. Fewer claims would mean that fewer people suffer loss or damage to their homes and contents. That doesn't save EQC money; it saves New Zealanders' investment in the Natural Disaster Fund.
- Why should I bother securing items in the home if I live in a low earthquake risk area?
- Some areas do have more risk than others – but earthquakes cannot be predicted and can happen anywhere at any time. It is better to be prepared than not.
- Are you expecting me to buy expensive equipment to secure items?
- Brackets, braces, hooks and quake gel to secure water cylinders, heavy furniture, photos and ornaments can cost around $40. They are readily available from hardware retailers such as Bunnings. Replacing a brick chimney is a more significant cost – but is still worth the effort, given the amount of damage it can do.
- What level of technical knowledge do I need to secure items safely?
- Securing most items is relatively easy if you are comfortable with basic DIY. Instructions on how to do this are on the EQC website and a brochure can be downloaded. Alternatively, you may prefer someone like a builder or handyperson to do the work for you. Securing floor bearers to the piles is more difficult. Securing floor bearers to piles or replacing brick chimneys is more difficult and can require local council building consents and specialist skills.
- EQC and insurers will pay out for any damage, so why should I bother securing items?
- Securing items in the home can help protect you and your family from death and injury. It can also mean you're safer and more comfortable immediately after a natural disaster. Insurance claims and any payments come much later on in the process. And don't forget – there are some things that insurance can never replace such as family heirlooms or pictures of the kids.
- Am I still covered by EQC if I don't fix and fasten my home's contents and these items are damaged in an earthquake?
- Yes, if you have qualifying insurance cover your claim is not affected. However, you may still have to live with the inconvenience and loss that could have been prevented if you took action to fix and fasten.
- Is the reason for the new "Fix .Fasten. Don't Forget." campaign because EQC is expecting more damaging earthquakes to hit New Zealand? Are you telling the public everything you know about future earthquakes?
- Earthquakes cannot be predicted. What we do know is that New Zealand is situated in a seismically active region – we experience about 15,000 earthquakes every year and about 150 are strong enough to be felt. The location, timing and intensity cannot be predicted, but people can take steps to help them be prepared for when an earthquake does occur.
- Is my home and contents insurance policy with my preferred insurer affected if I don't take EQC's advice and fix and fasten?
- Your cover is not affected. However, you still have to live with the inconvenience and upset of damage that could have been prevented e.g. loss of a much-loved gift or an ornament from a memorable trip.
- I can't afford to spend money on securing my home contents but I see the value in doing so. Is there any help available for people like me?
- EQC does not provide financial subsidies. You could ask family, friends or a neighbour to help.
- Did you pay Tracey Harris, the woman who lost her child, to support this campaign?
- Tracey volunteered her time to EQC. She wants New Zealanders to know about the ultimate cost of not securing items.
- Will the EQC levy increase to pay for this campaign?
- No. The campaign is budgeted for within EQC’s ‘business as usual’ operating expenses.