Civil Defence ensuring isolated Marlborough Sounds communities are disaster-ready

It might not be some people's first choice for holiday reading, but Civil Defence is delivering crucial information packs to residents and visitors in the Marlborough Sounds.

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Should disaster strike many places are only accessible by boat. Source: 1 NEWS

The coastal area is a magnet for holidaymakers over summer, but should disaster strike, many could be left isolated, especially in places only accessed by boat.

And that's exactly how Civil Defence is getting its advice out there, by organising a mail drop using the Pelorus Mail Boat service.

Marlborough Civil Defence Emergency Management Group welfare manager Catherine Coates says Pelorus residents have limited or no road access and travel by boat. There is also “very interrupted or limited communications”.

She put together 100 information packs to help prepare people for an emergency, especially if they are isolated for weeks. Another 60 will be distributed to people based in Queen Charlotte Sound.

Fire, earthquakes and landslides are a major risk for the area, and with 20 per cent of the country's coastline, it's also exposed to risk of a tsunami.

The pack includes information on supplies, an evacuation check list and how to stay informed.

Many residents are used to coping alone, but in the summer months there are tourists too.

“A lot of people who live here have summer visitors, so how prepared are you to look after your visitors for much longer than usual?” points out Mrs Coates.

Pelorus Sound resident Natalie Everett remembers being cut off in a storm a few years ago.

“We had huge surge coming in the bay. I had torch out the bedroom window and there was waves breaking on the grass”.

She has a plan in place as well as multiple backups.

“We have our own water supplies here but we also keep bottled water in the house all the time. We've got solar panels, generators and water power when its been raining”.

Mrs Coates says those on holiday needn't switch into survival mode, but should be smart about their preparations.

“The champagne and blue cheese are gonna run out pretty quickly, so take some boring old tinned spaghetti”.