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Masterton hunkers down for ShakeOut

St Patrick’s School Hub 5 pupils participated in last week’s New Zealand ShakeOut. PHOTOS/JOHN LAZO-RON

John Lazo-Ron
[email protected]

Staff from Forest360 on Chapel St took part in the New Zealand ShakeOut to prepare for a possible earthquake.

Multiple Masterton businesses and schools dived under desks and tables last Thursday morning as part of a nationwide drill to prepare if things suddenly got a bit shaky.

The New Zealand ShakeOut, a national initiative by the National Emergency Management Agency [NEMA] and co-sponsored by the Earthquake Commission [EQC], reminded New Zealanders what to do during an earthquake and tsunami.

Locals who got involved were part of more than 650,000 Kiwis in offices and schools around the country getting in on the safety act.

St Patrick’s School Hub 5 [year 4-6] teacher Julie Harris said if an earthquake hit, the children would be well ready for it.

“If an earthquake happened, St Patrick’s would be ready,” she said after the school took part in the ShakeOut.

“We would be calm, we would be doing the right thing, and we would listen to instructions.”

She said the school often practised diving under tables in case of an earthquake and that ShakeOut was part of that.

“Schools have earthquake drills frequently, but it’s always good to participate in the ShakeOut drill, especially when we can tell the kids it’s a nationwide thing, meaning many children and schools will be doing it at the same time.”

Harcourts Hamill Realty also got in on the drill in preparation for a possible earthquake.

Harris said all the children got really into the ShakeOut and always got better the more they practised.

“Every time the kids practise, everyone’s a little bit more switched on, and it’s a good opportunity to refresh everyone’s memory. It’s hugely important as a school to do this because when there are so many different classes, so many different teachers and children, it’s really important that everyone’s safety is optimised.”

NEMA chief executive Dave Gawn said by practising ShakeOut every year, learning the correct actions to take in an earthquake or tsunami would become second nature.

“All of Aotearoa can use ShakeOut to practise what to do in an earthquake and tsunami. It’s also a good opportunity to make an emergency plan and check your supplies.”

EQC chief resilience and research officer Dr Jo Horrocks said that her team are working hard to minimise the impact of future natural hazards on communities.

“Our beautiful land is one of the highest-risk countries in the world for a range of natural hazards, but there is a lot we can all do to prepare for them,” she said.

Horrocks thanked the thousands of Kiwis who had signed up for ShakeOut.

“Taking a bit of time to think about how hazards could affect us at home, work or school, and then taking steps to prepare – these are things that will make a big difference in
a disaster.”

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