Video transcript: What to do in a storm

Read the transcript for our 'What to do in a storm' video.

The Ministry for Ethnic Communities and the National Emergency Management Agency have worked together to create this series of videos, so our communities know what to do to prepare for different disasters and emergencies, and how to respond when they happen.

Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. This could include earthquakes, floods, storms, tsunami, fires, and volcanic activity.

When an emergency happens, Civil Defence and emergency services will be busy helping the people who need them most so it’s important that you have a plan to look after yourself and your family.

This video explains what to do in a storm. New Zealand often gets hit by storms that can bring strong winds, heavy rain or snow, thunder, lightning, tornadoes, and rough seas.

Before a storm, prepare your property for high winds which can lift large, heavy objects and send them crashing into homes. Bring inside or tie down anything that strong winds could break or lift. Regularly inspect and trim trees as strong winds frequently break weak branches, and remove any debris or loose items from around your property, like firewood. Ensure you have materials and tools ready to repair windows, such as tarpaulins, boards, and duct tape and identify a safe place in your home to gather during a storm. This should be a place where there are no windows, skylights, or glass doors. Keep pets indoors because they can be unsettled by storms and it’s more comforting and safer for them to be with you.

During a storm stay inside. Don't walk around outside and don't drive unless necessary. Close all doors and windows and pull curtains and blinds over them to prevent injury from any broken glass. Avoid bathtubs, water taps, and sinks. Metal pipes and plumbing can conduct electricity if they’re struck by lightning so use water from your emergency supplies. Remember to unplug small appliances that may be affected by electrical power surges. If you lose power, unplug major appliances. This will reduce the power surge and possible damage when power is restored.

After a storm, contact your local council if your house or building has been severely damaged and ask them for advice on how to safely clean up debris. Also stay alert for extended rainfall, flooding, landslides, and debris hazards, especially when driving.

Storms can trigger landslides so you should know the warning signs of landslides so you can act quickly if you see them. Look out for small slips, rock falls and subsidence at the bottom of slopes, sticking doors and window frames and gaps where frames are not fitting properly. Outside fixtures such as steps, decks, and verandas moving or tilting away from the rest of the house and new cracks or bulges on the ground, road, footpath, retaining walls and other hard surfaces; and tilting trees, retaining walls or fences. If there’s a landslide or you think one is about to happen, get your grab bag and get out of the way quickly and evacuate the building you are in.

After any emergency, listen to the advice of Civil Defence and emergency services and don’t do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property. Remember to check on your neighbours and help others if you can, especially people who may need extra support.

Make sure you review your insurance regularly. Having insurance cover for your home and contents is important to help you get back to normal if you suffer damage in a disaster. If you don’t have insurance, this will take longer and may involve more hardship for you and your family. If your property is damaged contact your insurance company as soon as possible. If you’re renting, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company. For more information about preparing for and responding to emergencies, go to

Remember, if you need to contact Government services in an emergency and need language support, you can request an interpreter.

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