- Healthy living
- Babies and toddlers
- Emergency management
- Environmental health
- Food and physical activity
- Sexual health
- Stop the spread of disease
- Teeth and gums
Civil Defence are responsible for emergency management in New Zealand.
Get Ready, Get Through
A Civil Defence website with advice for the public on preparing for natural disasters.
Geonet is the hazard monitoring website of GNS Science, who are responsible for monitoring volcanic activity and setting alert levels.
GNS Science - Volcano
For information about volcanoes in NZ.
International Volcanic Health Hazard Network
The International Volcanic Health Hazard Network is an umbrella organisation for research and information on volcanic health hazards.
- Consistent messaging guide for Volcanoes - For Emergency Planners, 'Working from the same page' guide provides pre-agreed messages
Keeping safe from volcanic ash
Volcanic ash can harm people and animals and destroy property, both near to the eruption and hundreds of kilometres away. If you’re worried about volcanic ash, listen to your local radio stations for civil defence advice and follow instructions.
Before the ash arrives
- Put all machinery inside a garage or shed, or cover with large tarpaulins to protect them from volcanic ash.
- Bring animals and livestock into closed shelters to protect them from volcanic ash and ensure fodder is available.
- Protect sensitive electronics and do not uncover until the environment is totally ash-free.
- Water supplies can be affected so it is a good idea to store drinking-water in containers and fill bathtubs and sinks with water.
- Disconnect drainpipes/downspouts from gutters to stop drains clogging.
- If you use a rainwater collection system for your water supply, disconnect the tank from the downpipes to prevent ash washing into the tank.
- Check on friends and neighbours who may require special assistance.
Keep household animals indoors where possible, wash away ash on their paws or skin to keep them from ingesting the ash, and provide clean drinking-water.
During and after ashfall
- Stay indoors as volcanic ash is a health hazard, especially if you have respiratory difficulties such as asthma or bronchitis.
- When indoors, close all windows and doors to limit the entry of volcanic ash. Place damp towels at thresholds.
- If you have to go outside use protective gear such as masks and goggles and keep as much of your skin covered as possible. Wear eyeglasses, not contact lenses as these can cause corneal abrasions. In emergency use a damp cloth until you can obtain a mask
- When it is safe to go outside, keep your gutters and roof clear of ash as heavy ash deposits can collapse your roof.
- If there is a lot of ash in the water supply, do not use your dishwasher or washing machine. Do not uncover the heat pump external unit or use the heat pump until after the ash fall.
- Avoid driving in heavy ashfall as it stirs up ash that can clog engines and cause serious abrasion damage to your vehicle.
- Use a mask or a damp cloth and eye protection when cleaning up. Moisten the ash with a sprinkler before cleaning. Wash off any ash that gets onto skin.
- Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
- If your property is damaged, take notes and photographs for insurance purposes. If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.
- Do not reconnect your roof tank to the downpipe until rain has washed all ash from the roof or it has been cleaned. Ash will usually make drinking-water unpalatable (sour, metallic or bitter-tasting) before it presents a health risk. In this event roof tank water should be replaced.
- If you have questions or concerns about your water supply, or other health concerns, contact your local Public Health Unit at your District Health Board.