Emergency management at Massey: Questions and answers

Please note that the content on this page is continually evolving. If you have a question that is not answered on this page, please email the Risk Management Office.

Emergency management questions and answers

What is the University doing to manage the response to a real Earthquake?

In mid 2010, senior managers at Massey University requested a formal review of the University’s emergency management arrangements. A formal review was completed by the appointed project team during the first three quarters of 2011.

 The review acknowledged areas of good practice; set up a policy and strategic emergency management framework; and produced a recommended programme of work which will enable the University to meet international best practice standards.

 Since then each campus has formed an Emergency Management Team (which is responsible for managing emergencies on the campus) and developed Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs). Massey University’s three campuses now have a common Emergency Response Plan which enables emergency management team members from one campus to go to the aid of another campus if there is a large-scale emergency at one campus.

Campus Emergency Management Team members participate in regular training and emergency exercises in order to help them be prepared to respond to real emergency events.

 More information about Massey’s emergency management arrangements can be found on the following webpages:

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When it comes to emergency planning, what is Massey doing to take into account people with disabilities or special requirements?

We are in the process of a complete revision of our emergency plans and procedures. We are currently revising our Campus Emergency Response Plan and are developing the University Crisis Management Plan. These documents provide guidance to members of our Emergency Management Team about the structure for, and principles of, emergency response at Massey. The next step is to redevelop procedures that are specific to each Campus, and this is the point where we will need some advice regarding how to best support people with disabilities or special requirements. This will take place during 2016 & 2017.

We are interested to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in this process, and in particular, people who would like to discuss how Massey can best take into account people with disabilities or special requirements when developing its emergency procedures. If you would like to be involved, please email the Risk Management Office.

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What is “drop, cover, hold”?

Drop, cover, hold refers to the key actions to take if you feel an earthquake.

If you feel and earthquake and are near a desk, table or similar:

  • Take no more than a few steps to get to the desk or table then DROP to your hands and knees.
  • Take COVER under the desk or table and COVER your head with one hand.
  • HOLD onto a leg of the table or desk. The earthquake might cause the furniture around. If it does, move with it so you are protected from falling objects.

If you feel and earthquake and are not near a desk, table or similar:

  • DROP onto your hands and knees where you are.
  • COVER your head with one hand and the back of your neck with the other.
  • HOLD yourself in a tight ball shape even if the earthquake moves you around or knocks you onto your side.

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management has prepared these videos about drop, cover, hold:

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What should do if I am unable to drop, cover and hold?

The aim of the ‘drop, cover and hold’ initiative is to reduce the likelihood of personal injury during an earthquake. If you are unable to follow one, or more, of the ‘drop, cover and hold’ steps for health or disability related reasons then you should still take those steps that are available to you, for example covering your head and neck.

More specific information about emergency preparedness for people with disabilities or special requirements can be found at the New Zealand Government website:

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Is “drop, cover, hold” really the best advice?

Yes, ‘drop, cover and hold’ is the best action to take during an earthquake.

It is the official advice of the New Zealand Government and has been developed collaboratively with expert agencies such as GNS Science, EQC and the Society of Earthquake Engineers.

More people are killed by being struck by falling objects as the result of an earthquake than by catastrophic building failure.

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management has prepared two videos about drop, cover, hold; see the question and answer above.

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What was New Zealand ShakeOut?

New Zealand ShakeOut was a national earthquake drill and exercise held on 15th October 2015. It was hosted by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) and over one million people registered to take part, including Massey University staff and students.

The drill was the second nationwide event of its kind in New Zealand. The exercise consisted of a series of events and activities across the country, culminating in a nationwide Drop, Cover and Hold drill at 9:15 am on 15th October 2015. The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management had an ambitious goal of having one million New Zealanders take part in the Drop, Cover and Hold drill.

Massey's involvement was:

  • To participate in the earthquake drill to familiarise the University community with the universal actions to take during an earthquake (drop, cover, hold)

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