Civil defence or what to do if "The sky falls in"

This wiki is about being prepared for a civil disaster, such as an earthquake, a new volcano, a tsunami, a flood, or “the Sky Falls on your head”. This wiki is based around NZ, but with the worlds weird weather, disasters are occurring all over

The sky falling in refers to Vitalstatistix from Asterix the Gaul, who has only one fear “that the sky may fall on his head tomorrow:

First stop for information is :

NZ Earthquake risk by area

Miranda (were we live) is just in the low earthquake risk area. Our house at 170 metres above sea level means we do not worry much about floods and tsunamis. A new volcano in Auckland may cause us problems, especially if the wind is in the wrong direction.

Surviving 3 days at home without services

Three days is the time that civil defence recommend you prepare to cope for yourself and family without outside services and help. I list the main requirements that I see has the most important to us.

Water: You will need at least 3 litres per day per person. We have 50,000 litres in tanks that we can get at from a couple of outside taps through gravity. If you rely on mains water, then a 50 litre or greater container filled with water (a few drops of bleach will keep the water healthy for up to a year) stored in a cool dark place.

Food: I work on the principle that our fridge, freezer and food cupboards would keep us going for at least 3 days. Obviously use up the perishable food first, especially if you have no power.

Cooking: The barbecue is the life saver here, if power is out. This only works if you have sufficient LPG, so a spare tank (full) is required.

Sewage: The Christchurch earthquake emphasised that the sewage system can fail and even if not, you may not have water to flush the toilet. Not sure what to advise except a hole the ground. We should be al-right in that our septic tank relies on gravity alone, we may still need the bucket of water to flush the toilet though.

Radio: For contact with the outside world, a battery or generator radio is common sense.

Phone: Cordless phones do not work without power, so a cheap basic phone that requires no power is a must.

Torch: With batteries and spares of course. One tip, we bought a rechargeable torch, light, sensor light that plugs in the socket for $20 from Bunnings. As soon as the power fails on comes the light, you can then switch it to a torch. We have one in the garage and one in the kitchen, they last for hours.

Money: The ATM's may be down and Efpos out of order, so cash will be king. $100 or more, just in case money, may be very useful

Survival Kit

From the civil defence website:

  Torch with spare batteries or a self-charging torch
  Radio with spare batteries
  Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes.
  First aid kit and essential medicines
  Blankets or sleeping bags
  Pet supplies
  Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet
  Face and dust masks

Power from a generator

Having a generator for backup power may seem a little over the top, but if you live in New York were certain areas have lost power for days, 3 times in the last two years then may be not.

Here in NZ we had Christchurch residents losing power for days or weeks, so a generator is good insurance but a little expensive. We have bought a 3.5 KVA inverter generator to keep our lights and fridge on.

Note Inverter generator. The cheaper ones are of no use for electronics, which nowadays means nearly all your electrical appliances. The kettle and toaster will be OK, but not much else

You can run leads from your generator to your appliances, but much better to connect to your electrical distribution system (get an electrician to sort that out). A 3.5 KVA generator gives about 2.8 Kilowatts of power, so most appliances can be run on their own, or several together if the total load is within the 2.8 Kilowatts. A kettle can be used with a few lights only. I have tested ours out and everything worked, including the heat pump, microwave, TV, Modem, computer etc. but not all together.

Inverter generators vary greatly in price, a Honda 2.5 KVA will cost $2500, but my cheapo Chinese one from TradeTested was only $1400 incl. GST. You pays your money and takes your chance. If I was using the generator every day, I would buy a more expensive brand, but mine is tested once a month for 15 mins. to keep the battery charged up. We did have a planned 8 hour power cut and I used the generator for half of that. Remember, the generator is useless without petrol so a fuel cannister is required.

Run the generator outside or with the garage doors open

civil_defence.txt · Last modified: 2013/05/21 09:49 by art
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