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How your home can ‘Be Prepared’ for a natural hazard

The Earthquake Commission has launched its new Be Prepared webpage which provides tailored and detailed information for different New Zealand householders so they can keep their homes and contents secure in the event of a natural disaster.

EQC Manager Research Strategy and Investment, Richard Smith, says that Be Prepared provides a mix of information that is specifically designed for landlords, tenants, home buyers and owners, renovators and people living in apartments.

“Our message to all householders is by making sure that your home and contents are strong and secure, you will be keeping yourself and your whanau safer from the effects of natural disasters.

“We recognise that not everyone’s situation is the same, but we can all do something to prepare. Having talked to people and groups in our community, we have created these resources so people can get the information that is most relevant to them. For example, if you are looking to build a house or carry out renovations, then you should consider the risks and building requirements in your area.

“Understanding your property risk may involve checking to see if winter rains have had an impact on your land, asking your landlord or building owner if your property is vulnerable to flooding and landslips, or finding out if your apartment complex meets the New Building Standard. There is information available on the Be Prepared section for landlords and tenants as well.”

Dr Smith says that the warmer months are an ideal time for making sure a property is well maintained and checking for any work that needs to be done.

“Even smaller earthquakes can potentially cause some damage to a house or complex and it is worth doing some checks and the maintenance jobs that can be done easily and immediately.”

“Homeowners or their builder should check the strength and condition of their chimney, especially if they are built from brick and concrete masonry and extend above the roofline. If the chimney is not being used then an option is to remove it or replace it with a lightweight flue.

“Securing tall and heavy furniture, including tall bookcases and cabinets, woodburners and fridges also makes a home safer. Local hardware stores sell a range of screws and brackets that can be the difference between a bookshelf staying upright in an earthquake or falling, risking not just damage but the safety of those in the house”. 

Dr Smith says homeowners should also check the condition of existing retaining walls, and if you are on a slope watch for cracks appearing in the ground as this could indicate the land is moving and needs to be retained.

“Our message this spring and summer is to spend some time checking your home and property, doing the simple tasks and making a plan for the more complicated work. You can reduce the risk of damage occurring, making it possible for and your family to recover more quickly when a natural disaster happens.”


More information - eqc.govt.nz/be-prepared

Media Contact - media@eqc.govt.nz or 029 978 6430.

 

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