9.9.3 Earthquake Procedure

Including Drill Guidelines
An earthquake can strike at any time. It will be sudden and unexpected. It will demand immediate action by people at Centre. Items in italics are relevant for Earthquake Drill only. Earthquake drills need to be conducted once per term/every three months, minimum.

Item Procedure
1 When an earthquake is felt, or when conducting a drill – call out “Earthquake”
2 Wardens put on their warden identification, if possible.
3 Encourage everyone to:
a) Move no more than a few steps to a safe place
b) Get down in the turtle position and/or get under a desk or table.
c) If possible turn away from glass.
If outdoors, also
d) Attempt to keep clear of buildings and other hazards that might fall on people
e) Assist tamariki to a safer area if possible.
f) Adults may brace themselves in open doorway to keep an eye on tamariki.
4 Be aware of the potential for aftershocks.
5 Appropriate adult(s) to signal when the shaking has stopped and when it is safe to move. If necessary, follow the Centre’s Emergency Evacuation procedures.
6 Check all tamariki and adults have been evacuated via nearest safe exit.
a) Move quickly, do not run.
b) Check toilets, sleeping room, garages, playhouses, sheds and other storage areas for tamariki
7 Where necessary appoint a suitable person to assist anyone requiring assistance.
8 Evacuate to the Centre’s Emergency Assembly Point at with:
a) The daily roll of all people present at the Centre (including visitors).
b) A mobile phone
c) The Building Assistance Register
d) The Quick Getaway kit –incl a copy of the Centre’s Emergency Plan and a basic First Aid kit.
9 Ensure roll is called and everyone is present.
10 If the earthquake was long (ie: longer than a minute), or strong (ie: hard to stand up in) then a tsunami may be imminent. If the Centre is in a tsunami evacuation area, evacuate immediately to inland or higher ground evacuation point:
Take the Quick Getaway Kit and complete a roll call of all people present with you.
If evacuating away from threat of a tsunami, leave a note on the door or near the Emergency Assembly Point if possible with the time evacuated, where people are moving to, and and if everyone at the Centre was accounted for. Contact the local Playcentre Regional Office to alert them to plans if possible.
11 If an Earthquake Drill
a) Note time Earthquake Drill has taken.
b) Provide a simple summary for both tamariki and adults on what worked well and any improvements that could be made.
c) Sign and date the daily roll/register confirming the completion of the Earthquake Drill
d) Ensure Centre processes are followed to track the Earthquake Drill completion and provide feedback to inform Centre self-review.
12 Following the earthquake:
– Monitor tamariki and adults for signs of shock and ensure that any injuries are being treated.
– Call 111 if medical assistance is required
– Ensure that tamariki are kept away from any areas of danger
– Listen to the radio for instructions from Civil Defence
– If gas is smelt or there is a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and evacuate everyone out quickly. Turn off the gas using the outside main valve if possible. If the gas is turned off for any reason it must only be turned back on by a registered plumber or gas-fitter.
13 Websites that may give relevant information during an emergency: (such as local Council or Civil Defence)
14 Local Radio stations:
RNZ National 101.4 FM or 756 AM
Newstalk ZB 89.4 FM or 1080 AM
15 The decision on whether the session will continue for the day will be made by the Person Responsible in consultation with the other adults present.
– Once the daily roll has been marked, parents/whanau who are present may take their tamariki home, as long as at least two adults remain on site until all tamariki have been collected
– Call the parents and/or emergency contacts of any tamariki who do not have their parent/whanau present
– Call the emergency contacts of any adults who are injured or require assistance.
– Keep tamariki comfortable and distracted until they are able to be collected. Record on the daily roll who took each child home, and the time they did so.
16 Contact your local Playcentre Regional Office to alert them to the situation and any injuries and/or damage.
17 The Regional Office will contact the local Ministry of Education


  1. Turtle Position – get down on the floor, head down, arms covering the back of head, eyes closed, legs crouched up under body, and stay in position until it is safe to move.
  2. Consider Pre-Drill Education for tamariki and See Earthquake Drill Education Guidelines for more information.