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Last modified: 20 Apr 2021 4:17pm

Selwyn District Council is confident its Civil Defence and community response systems are well placed to respond to any Alpine Fault earthquake event.

It’s also encouraging residents to check they are prepared in the event of an earthquake or any other emergency.

This comes after new research was released today showing a 75% probability of a rupture on the central section of the Alpine Fault over the next 50 years – a higher probability than previously estimated.

Al Lawn, the Council’s Civil Defence and Emergency Management Manager, says the new data is a timely reminder of the need for communities and families to check on their own preparedness for emergencies.

“We’ve been working with other agencies over a number of years to plan and prepare for the eventuality of a major earthquake,” he says.

“We’re part of the AF8 programme which is helping communities to build resilience and preparedness, and we also work closely with emergency management groups to coordinate our response to any future Alpine Fault event.”

Locally the Council has been running AF8 community education nights for several years, providing information on the likely consequences of an event such as an alpine fault, and what communities and individuals can do to be prepared for any adverse events.

“We know that many different types of events may occur in our district, such as flooding, tsunami, snow, wind, pandemics and wild fires,” Mr Lawn says.

“Our planning includes developing and resourcing Community Response Teams throughout the district, which are made up of local people trained and ready to respond to events in their own areas.

“We’ve also invested in Selwyn Gets Ready, which provides information about community resources, and allows us to alert communities to immediate hazards.

“I’d encourage all Selwyn residents to join up at”

The Council’s Emergency Management team will shortly be releasing a new booklet on preparing for emergencies – ‘Are You Ready?’ which will be distributed throughout Selwyn.

The Council will also be holding further Get Ready presentations in the coming months, covering the types of hazards that could affect Selwyn and what individuals, families and businesses can do to be prepared. These will be at Darfield (19 May), Lincoln (18 August) and Rolleston (3 November). Contact the Council for more information.

Preparing for emergencies

All of New Zealand is at risk of earthquakes. We can’t predict when one will happen, but there are simple steps everyone can take to keep themselves and their whānau safe:

  • Practise Drop, Cover and Hold regularly. Drop, Cover and Hold is the right action to take in an earthquake. It stops you being knocked over, makes you a smaller target for falling and flying objects and protects your head, neck and vital organs.
  • The best preparation for an emergency is a conversation. Have a family or household chat to make an emergency plan to look after yourself and your loved ones for at least three days or more. Plan for when at home, at work, at school, wherever you might be if a disaster struck. Visit to make a plan and get simple tips on how to get ready for an emergency.
  • Make your home safer by making sure objects that could fall and hurt people are either placed somewhere else or fixed and fastened at home. Visit to find out how to prepare your home.

Useful links

More information about the Alpine Fault and earthquake and emergency preparedness is available at: