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Source: National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)

Just five simple hacks could help save you and your family in the event of a tsunami, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) says.

Today marks World Tsunami Awareness Day, and NEMA is urging Aotearoa New Zealand to take a few minutes to check their tsunami zone and get familiar with small actions that could make a big difference in an emergency.

NEMA’s annual Emergency Preparedness Survey showed that while more Kiwis have taken steps to prepare for an emergency (43 per cent, up from 33 per cent last year), knowledge about how and when to evacuate has fallen.

“We’re concerned that the number of New Zealanders who know that Long or Strong means Get Gone Has fallen from 87 per cent last year to 75 per cent this year,” NEMA chief science adviser Professor Tom Wilson says.

“This is a big worry, because in a local-source tsunami – like one caused by an earthquake on the Hikurangi fault along the North Island’s East Coast – immediate self-evacuation is key to survival.”

Preliminary research into the 5 March 2021 tsunami sequence shows that in an event, people often wait for an official warning, when they should leave straight away.

“Our five simple hacks are quick, easy and will save lives,” NEMA’s Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management John Price says.

”No matter what the emergency is, being safe starts with taking action to keep safe.

“For example, nearly everyone who took steps to prepare before Cyclone Gabrielle found this made a positive difference.

“To mark World Tsunami Awareness Day, take a few moments with your whānau today – and find out what to do if a tsunami strikes.”

Mr Price says NEMA will be running its Long or Strong, Get Gone campaign through to New Year to raise awareness of how to stay safe from a local source tsunami, with the campaign kicking off today.

Five simple hacks to save your life in a tsunami:

1. Know Your Zone: find out if the places you live, work and play are in a tsunami evacuation zone

Tsunami evacuation zones — Get Ready — Emergency preparedness in New Zealand

2. Have a “prep talk” with your whanau – and if you’re in a tsunami zone, work out a way to evacuate without using your car

3. Learn the natural warning signs: Long, Strong, Get Gone. If you’re near the coast and an earthquake is long (more than a minute) or strong (it’s hard to stand up), then get gone to higher ground immediately.

Tsunami — Get Ready — Emergency preparedness in New Zealand

4. Work out what you need in your evacuation grab bag.

Work out what supplies you need — Get Ready — Emergency preparedness in New Zealand

5. Practise your tsunami hīkoi (evacuation) so you know what to expect.