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Information for People with Disabilities

New Zealand ShakeOut, our national earthquake drill and tsunami hīkoi, is happening at 9:30 am on 18 October 2018.

Taking part is a great way for everyone to learn the right actions to take before, during and after an earthquake and tsunami.

Do the ShakeOut

Identify a safe place to Drop, Cover and Hold

  • DROP down on your hands and knees. This protects you from falling but lets you move if you need to.
  • COVER your head and neck (or your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk (if it is within a few steps of you).
  • HOLD on to your shelter (or your position to protect your head and neck) until the shaking stops. If the shaking shifts your shelter around, move with it.
  • If there is no shelter nearby, or you are outside, DROP down on your hands and knees and COVER your head and neck with your arms and hands, and HOLD on.

If you are unable to Drop, Cover and Hold

  • Get as low as possible and move away from windows or other items that can fall on you.
  • If you use a wheelchair; lock your wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Do not try to move from your wheelchair, chair, or bed during the shaking. Wait for the shaking to stop before transferring.
  • If you are in bed, pull the sheets and blankets over you and use your pillow to protect your head and neck.
  • Always protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, a book, or whatever is available.

Build a personal support network

  • Organise a personal support network to alert you to emergency warnings, or to help if you need to be evacuated. This could be family members, carers, friends, neighbours or co-workers.
  • Discuss your needs with the support network and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment.
  • Inform your support team if you are travelling or away from home.

Create a personal emergency plan

  • Create a personal emergency plan which covers what you will do, how you will communicate and what you need in an emergency.
  • Plan for the different situations you could encounter in an emergency, including alternatives to aids or assistance you require (eg: where to go for assistance if you are dependent on regular medical treatment).
  • Contact the emergency management staff at your local council to find out what local warning and information systems are in place in your community. If you cannot use these systems, ask your support network to alert you of warnings and keep you informed of updates.
  • Share your plan and practice it with your support network.

Assemble emergency and getaway kits

  • Have emergency supplies for your home, car and office with essential survival items and any additional requirements you have.
  • Have a getaway kit ready in case you need to evacuate.
  • If you have specific requirements or adaptive equipment needs (such as specific dietary needs, mobility), include these in your planning. Plan for alternatives if your usual adaptive equipment was not available.
  • Label any equipment with your contact information in case they are separated from you.
  • Keep at least seven days’ supply of your essential medications and make provisions for those that require refrigeration.
  • If you have difficulty understanding, remembering, or learning, keep a simple list of what to do and important information with you in your getaway kit.

Disability assistance dogs

  • If you have an assistance dog, such as a guide dog, ensure it is certified with an authorised organisation, such as the Blind Foundation.
  • Get a Disability Assist Dog identification tag - a unique tag worn by a certified dog to provide easy identification of Disability Assist Dog status. Ensure the dog is wearing its identification tag at all times. The tag enables access for service dogs to civil defence centres in an emergency, and will also support rapid reunification if the dog and handler become separated.
  • Have a getaway kit for your disability assist dog with food, medications, vaccination records, identification and harnesses.

Information about New Zealand hazards and preparedness advice on is available in NZ sign language, captions and audio form at

The ShakeOut website and registration system are services of SCEC, the Southern California Earthquake Center @ USC
New Zealand ShakeOut Step 1: Secure it now! Step 2: Make a plan Step 3: Make disaster kits Step 4: Is your place safe? Step 5: Drop, Cover, and Hold On Step 6: Check it out! Step 7: Communicate and recover!