Disaster Management in New Zealand

In New Zealand, property is at major risk from the destructive power of natural disasters like cyclones, earthquakes, floods and landslides.

Significant efforts have been made by the government of New Zealand to ensure that property owners are adequately prepared for any potential disaster event but to ensure owners won't suffer a major financial hit in case one occurs, having an effective disaster management plan in place is essential for protection.

Keeping your property protected means taking a proactive approach by first assessing the risks. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

1. Create an emergency plan
The emergency response plan for your building should include procedures for safely evacuating its occupants in the event of a disaster occurring. And remember, a plan is ineffective if it isn’t shared—verify that your building operations staff and tenants are aware of the guidelines and carry out an annual drill.

2. Update emergency contact information
Make sure that you have the current contact information for risk management consultants, insurance adjusters and insurance brokers on hand so that you can move swiftly in the event of an unforeseen event. On that note, you’ll also want to maintain up-to-date contact information for building tenants and other stakeholders so you can easily communicate with them in an emergency.

3. Back up insurance documentation
Any paperwork that you need to access for business interruption insurance —such as financial statements, lease agreements and inventory counts—should be updated regularly, backed up electronically, and stored offsite. When selecting a storage site, consider a location that is unlikely to be hit by the same circumstances at the same time as your building.

4. Inventory critical equipment and supplies
For example, in the event of a flood occurring, invest in critical flood-fighting equipment and supplies, such as sandbags, sump pumps, portable generators, fuel, portable lights, extension cords, dehumidifiers, and protective clothing, and store it onsite and above the likely flood level. In anticipation of an earthquake, ensure your building has been evaluated and given an official seismic rating so you know the levels to which your building is protected.

5. Install a backup generator
Install an onsite backup generator that can power at least one elevator, all the building’s pumps and heat pumps, the boiler, smoke evacuation fans, the fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems, stairwell pressure systems, and emergency lighting equipment for 24 to 72 hours.

For more information on how to make an emergency management plan for your property or business, visit:

Source: www.business.govt.nz