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July 29, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Salient’s Guide to: Gettin’ Ready, Gettin’ Through

It can be easy to forget that we live on top of some pretty big fault lines, but the recent earthquakes probably served as a pretty good reminder. While the worst of the shaking seems to be over, it’s always a good idea to keep switched on to what you should do if an earthquake hits. It’s always better be safe than sorry, and with that in mind, Salient presents a helpful guide to staying chill through the jolts.


Stay inside the building during an earthquake and take shelter under doorways or desks, or beside internal walls. Stay clear of areas with glass atriums or glass roofs. Keep calm, and stay inside until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.


Kneel on the floor, facing away from windows and clasp both hands behind your head, cover your neck, bury your face in your arms, and close your eyes tightly—stay in this position until it’s safe to get up.


Put out any small fires, and if it’s safe, help those around you if you can. Treat minor injuries, and account for those around you if possible. Check the area you’re in for signs of hazardous material spills or major structural damage. If telephones are working don’t contact Campus Care unless immediate assistance is required.

Close all smoke-stop doors in your area, and don’t evacuate unless you are instructed to do so or if the area is immediately threatened by secondary hazards like a fire or a gas leak. If an evacuation is called, do the same as you would in a fire: don’t use lifts, instead use stairwells.


Keep eating, drinking, trying to sleep, and stay connected with others. If you’re rattled by the shakes, it’s a good idea to keep structure and routine in your day, particularly around exercise, meeting up with friends, university activities, etc. Make sure you have the facts, and avoid listening to, or passing on information that you’re not sure is fact.

Remember that people will have different emotional reactions to critical incidents; be accepting of these, get support if you need and be sure to take care of your mates. There are a wide range of normal responses and coping strategies after earthquakes, which can be a really traumatic event for some people.


Health & Counselling at Victoria offers brief counselling appointments each day as needed; find them at Student Health Services in the SUB, Kelburn campus.

If you’ve got financial problems as a result of damage, Financial Support and Advice may be able to help with costs. They have offices at all campuses (except Karori) or contact them at

If you’re struggling with, or have questions regarding academic work due to the impact of the earthquakes, Victoria recommends you speak with your lecturers, course coordinators, or Faculty Office directly.

The University’s Accommodation Service is available for students who may have had accommodation or tenancy issues as a consequence of the quake.


Make sure your flat has…

– Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet

– Face and dust masks

– Radio

– Torch

– Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes

– Blankets or sleeping bags

– First aid kit and essential medicines

– Batteries.

Make sure to have food and water for at least three days:

– It’s best if it’s non-perishable (canned or dried food)

– You need water for drinking (at least 3 litres per person, per day) and for washing and cooking

– Don’t forget a primus or gas barbecue to cook on, and a can opener.

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