Search This Blog

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Freaky February

Hot tropical sunny days with dramatic skies ending with full moon evenings.  Heart-jumping thunder and lightning with waterspouts in the Hauraki Gulf.  Flash floods in Glen Eden.

What an extraordinary freaky February Auckland - and we are only half way through the month!  Goodness knows what's in store for the remainder of the month.  Bob McDavitt has retired after over 40 years working with the MetService predicting the weather and is probably secretly relieved he didn't have to make a prediction for the rest of Freaky February. 

They say that the weather has some sort of cosmic effect on a person's behavior, especially the full moon. Anyone recently experience strange, grumpy, erratic, excitable, argumentative, even angry behaviour from those around you or work colleagues or those you work with?  Yes?  I have. Is it the weather?  Oh coupled with the trauma of resuming 5 day working weeks and the start of the working year grind, sprinkled with an all but a distant memory of what you did during the holiday break 2011, it must be.

Is it El nino?  Is it a warning from above?  Is it a-typical mother nature behaviour?

I do know there was great communication from media about the strange weather occurences that have happened such as the loudest thunder-clap I have ever heard in my life this week. When the thunder happened, shortly after colleagues informed us that it was not a terrorist explosion of a nearby building as we speculated, but thunder, as reported in the NZ Herald.  However, I didn't find out about the waterspout until the evening news...and what an impressively scary water spout that was.

But what if there was no power and no internet and what if the telecommunications server was down?  How would we be alerted?  I know that in Waitakere there is a tsunami warning siren for the locals.  I have no idea if there is warning siren in the Auckland CBD.  They probably would have the Town Hall bells tolling continuously to warn citizens of an impending tsunami. I'm positive they have a process already in place, I will find out.

Oh and just a reminder everyone.  I don't claim to be an expert on emergency management procedures and processes or an oracle of knowledge on natural disasters because I'm not. I am merely an ordinary citizen from Auckland just wondering if anyone else ever stops to think about these dreaded issues; and maybe to provoke discussion within your networks or at the very least, to provoke thought.  I am also curious as to what extent has the average Aucklander prepared themselves in light of the natural disasters occuring in other cities and countries in and around the world.

Someone said to me that blogging about this topic is so depressing and not an appealing issue to discuss with friends and colleagues let alone to even think about? Fair enough, there is nothing inspiring or fun about earthquakes or tsunamis I agree.  

Maybe this is a topic for discussion reserved for around the family dinner table, during dessert...

Enjoy the rest of Freaky February everyone. 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Where will you be.....

Where will you be if a natural disaster strikes?

Who knows where you would be.  Nobody knows. You could be at work, at the gym, at the movies, at the beach, in a bus, asleep at night in bed and the list goes on.  The likelihood that you will be at home at the time is anyones guess, but what would you do if you were away from home at the time disaster strikes?

All workplaces have evacuation procedures in place and everyone should be confident in explaining how to evacuate the building immediately down or up the stairs, depending on your circumstances.  And remember - if you evacuate the building down the stairs in a single-file, 'apparently' it's faster and more effective than if you all went scrambling down at once.  I remember recently during a fire drill at my workplace, getting annoyed at people chatting and catching up on the way down.  Not the time and place and it really slowed the whole process down.  Though I'm sure this wouldn't be the case if it was a real emergency and we truly did need to run for our dear lives.

So my question is, have you got a plan for your family if you were not with them?  

Have you arranged to check in with each other immediately after a natural disaster by text or phone to confirm who is where?  Do you make your way home to your family or do you stay put? I guess you would assess each situation at the time and decide whatever is appropriate and safe. If your children were at school, does the school have a designated person to contact to find out about your kids? I'm certain all schools have emergency plans in place, but it might pay to find out exactly what their procedures are. Maybe even have your child's teacher's mobile phone number, but only for code red emergencies. Communication is key. So make sure your mobile phone is always charged and that you always have your phone charger with you.

These are all things we would never normally think about or even ask, but may make all the difference if disaster strikes.  

By planning and making a little effort,  we don't expel PANIC completely, but are attempting to try to reduce and manage a natural state of panic if and when disaster strikes.