New Zealand ShakeOut for the health and disability sector
New Zealand ShakeOut was a nationwide exercise that took place at 9.26 am on 26th September 2012. Over 64,000 people from the health and disability sector participated; nationally over 1.3 million people practised Drop, Cover and Hold – the right action to take in an earthquake.
Information and a number of resources are still available from the ShakeOut website including a flyer about the right action to take in an emergency (PDF, 135 KB)
The Ministry recommends that health and disability organisations consider three themes:
- how their organisation will continue to function after an emergency event (business or service continuity planning)
- how they will care for their staff (this includes how they will communicate with them)
- encouraging individuals to consider their own personal preparedness, particularly for if an emergency event occurs whilst they are at work.
As an example, the Ministry ran an internal awareness programme. This could be adapted for your own organisation’s needs:
Keep in contact
Encourage staff to have a household emergency plan (PDF, 116 KB) and to know how to get in contact with work and family. Will they be expected to continue at work after a disaster, or will they be able to meet their family at their emergency meeting place? Do they carry their family's phone numbers in their wallet so they can still contact them even if they lose their phones?
If not at work, do staff know their obligations regarding communicating with their manager, and how they will do this? Do you have a telephone tree to pass on messages?
Do you have, and do staff know, how to enact a leadership continuity plan? How do they contact people if an event occurs after hours?
Have a Get Home kit
Compare and share ideas for Get Home or Getaway kits. The Ministry encourages staff to have warm clothing, walking shoes and medication at work to enable them to get home safely. Also discuss alternative transport options and timeframes for getting home.
Do you have supplies for staff who are unable to get home, or who are required to stay and work? Are you prepared to manage additional people who turn up at your location, either because they are family members or because they are looking for medical or disability services.
Spot the hazard
Make staff aware of potential hazards in their workspace, and how to report a hazard or accident. Encourage them to take responsibility for their own health and safety.
Find the emergency gear
Ensure your staff knows where the emergency equipment (such as Civil Defence cabinets, first aid kits) is located and what they contain. They should know where their closest fire extinguisher and defibrillator are, and where the emergency water supplies are stored.
Know the drill
Discuss with your staff what to do for different emergencies. For their own personal preparedness, ask them to walk down their main and alternate fire escapes, confirm that they know who their floor (fire) wardens are.
Business (or service) continuity plans should be examined, reviewed and staff reminded or exercised on what they would do in the minutes, hours and days after an emergency.
The California Hospital Association and Earthquake Country Alliance have produced a guide for hospitals with much of its content relevant to other health or disability providers. The guide has suggestions for three levels of exercising:
- Level 1 – Drop, cover and hold
- Level 2 – Decision-making tabletop exercise
- Level 3 – Full exercise.
You can download this guide here: ShakeOut Exercise Manual for Hospitals (PDF, 169 KB), as well as getting additional information from the California Hospital Association Emergency Preparedness website.
Resources and more information about New Zealand ShakeOut, for individuals, families and organisations is available at Get Ready, Get Thru, including information for people with disabilities or special requirements.