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Manage Disruptions

Disruption of Electricity

Alternatives when there is no power. 


Alternatives in an Emergency 



  • BBQ with fuel or full gas bottle.
  • Camping stove with gas cylinders.


Food Storage
  • Use food in this order: fresh, refrigerated, frozen then dried foods (cans and packets).
  • Eat foods that will expire soon first – for example, bread and meat and canned foods last.
  • Keep fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Throw away freezer food after 3 days. Rubbish containing foods scraps must be protected from flies and rats by wrapping the scraps or putting them in a sealed container.
  • Throw out bad or rotting food before it spoils other food.


  • LPG heater / log burner.
  • Warm clothes, hats and gloves.
  • Sleeping bag / foil survival blankets.


  • Torch with spare batteries.
  • Glow sticks.
  • Lanterns.


Portable Phones Standard non-cordless phone in the house or car-charger for cell phones.

Loss of communication

Loss of communication can be a scary time - but it doesn't have to be if you are prepared for the following


Alternatives in an Emergency 


Keeping in contact with family
  • Plan who will collect children from school/care.
  • Have an agreed message point (eg. front of fridge).
  • Have an agreed meeting and contact point.


Seeking help
  • Call 111 if your life or the life of others is at risk.   
  • Know where the nearest Emergency Centre, Police and Fire Station are located.
  • Discuss emergency actions and community meeting places with neighbours.
  • Contact neighbourhood support or start a group.


Staying informed
  • Battery-powered radio (with spare batteries).
  • Car radio.

Disruption of Water

If your water supply is cut or the tap water is contaminated, be prepared to do the following:


Alternatives in an Emergency 


  • Use stored water - header tank, hot water cylinder, toilet cistern.
  • Have containers to collect rain or stream water. You must treat this water by boiling before use.
  • Use bottled water and other drinks (juice, sodas).



  • Alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
  • Unscented household bleach.


Handy Tip: Learn how and where to turn off your home water supply. If you are a business owner, make sure you know how to do this at your business as well. Turning off the water will save water damage caused by broken pipes and will prevent any contaminated water getting into the hot water cylinder which may be your best supply of drinking water for a while.

Storing Water

You should have a minimum of three litres of drinking water per person per day for three days – that is, 9 litres per person – for drinking and basic sanitation. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more. 

To store bottled water:

  • Thoroughly clean containers with hot If you use your own storage containers plastic soft-drink bottles are best. Do not use plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or juice in them.
  • Fill them to the top with regular tap water until it overflows. Add five drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach per litre to the water. Do not use bleaches that contain added scent or perfume, surfactants or other additives. These can make people sick. Do not drink for at least 30 minutes after disinfecting.
  • Place a date on the outside of the containers so that you know when you filled them. Store them in a cool, dark place.
  • Check the bottles every 6 months. You can do this when the clocks change over at daylight savings. 

If you choose to buy commercially bottled water, store it in the original sealed container. Do not open it until you need to use it. Observe and replace according to the expiration or use by date.

Find  out more.

Road Blocked



Alternatives in an Emergency 


Unable to access regular medicines/pharmacy care

  • Keep at least one week's supply of essential medications.


No emergency services available 
  • Have a comprehensive first aid kit and training.
  • Have a fire extinguisher for fighting small fires and learn how to use it.


Getting Groceries 
  •  Have adequate stocks in the pantry.



Alternatives in an Emergency 



  • Camping toilet / bury waste.


Rubbish collection

  • Store rubbish in plastic bags in a secure area.



  • If public announcements say don't flush your toilet - don't. What you flush may end up in someone else's home.
  • Until the system is fixed, a portable toilet or covered bucket in the house, garage, backyard or shed should be used.
  • Dig a deep hole in the garden to empty these into. Put a fly proof cover over the hole.
  • Alternatively, you could make a privacy screen around a garden pit and use it as a toilet.

Rubbish collection

  • Store rubbish in plastic bags in a secure area.
  • It may be some time before regular rubbish collection resumes. Bury bio-degradable rubbish in the garden, compost it or store it in well-sealed bags with other rubbish and keep the bags away from animals.
  • Listen to your local radio station and local councils for details about collection resuming.

House Damage

If your house is damaged and you and your family are unable to remain in it, you will need to make alternative arrangements - you could think about the following:


Alternatives in an Emergency 



  • Caravan / tents.
  • Discuss alternative accommodation with family or friends.
  • Follow updates from your local emergency management group for more information about how to access accommodation support.

Care of Pets

  • Keep extra pet food on hand – tinned or dry food is best as it keeps the longest.
  • A pet carry cage in case you have to evacuate your home in a hurry.
  • If you can’t take your pets - leave them free inside your house so that they can move away from danger. Leave plenty of water, food and a dirt box.
  • Leave a note clearly visible for emergency works, informing them what animals they will encounter and where you can be contacted.

For more information on how to care for pets and animals during an emergency visit Ministry of Primary Industries.