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BOP earthquake reminder to make homes safer

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People are being warned to take steps to prepare for a damaging earthquake before it hits.

This is the message from the Earthquake Commission following a 5.9 magnitude earthquake off the Bay of Plenty which was widely felt early on Sunday morning.

The quake struck at 5.34am at a depth of 115kms, around 50kms north of Opotiki.

The shake is the latest in a number of earthquakes over the last 12 months that have been widely felt but have thankfully caused little damage. Information from the EQC-sponsored geological hazard monitoring service GeoNet says around 20,000 earthquakes occur in and around New Zealand each year, with 250 of those large enough to be felt by people.

“These shakes are a good reminder that our land is restless,” says EQC deputy chief executive Renee Walker.

“One of the most important things we can do as New Zealanders is pay attention to these reminders and take preparedness steps that will make our homes safer and stronger when a damaging quake hits.”

Renee says we can all do something to make where we live safer.

“Most New Zealanders spend the majority of their time at home. So when a damaging quake hits, you’re more likely to be there than anywhere else.

“If you’re at home you certainly don’t want large items of furniture toppling over because they haven’t been secured, a hazardous chimney collapsing through the roof because it hasn’t been removed, or your home slipping from its foundations because they haven’t been secured.”

Unfortunately, most people tend to be overly optimistic when it comes to disasters, in that they think other people are more likely to suffer damage than themselves. The reality is that New Zealand’s next damaging quake could happen tomorrow and the instant it does, our opportunity to prepare ends.

The Be Prepared information on EQC’s website contains many different preparedness steps that all Kiwis should be aware of. Whether you rent or own, live in a house or apartment, we can all do something to prepare our homes.

Smaller steps such as securing fragile household items might save the hassle of cleaning up a mess. Larger steps such as removing hazardous tall concrete and brick chimneys could literally be lifesaving and mean far less disruption in the aftermath of a large quake.

For more information on preparedness steps that will make your home safer and stronger, visit www.eqc.govt.nz/be-prepared

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