This Thursday (17 October) at 1:30pm thousands of people across the Bay of Plenty will be ducking under desks and doorways to practice their Drop, Cover and Hold. So far, almost 50,000 Bay of Plenty locals have signed up to take part in the national earthquake drill ShakeOut.

Given New Zealand’s geology and history of earthquakes, this drill is incredibly important says Director of Emergency Management Bay of Plenty Clinton Naude.

“While most people know what to do in an earthquake, we know that practicing these drills can help save lives. It’s important that people get involved, no matter their age or whether they’re at home, school or work. Treat this drill like the real deal and, if it’s safe, Drop, Cover and Hold,” he says.

“It’s also a great opportunity to have a chat and make a bit of a plan with your family about who would do what in an event and where you would go. If the phone lines go out, how would you know your family is safe?” he says.

The largest recent earthquake in Bay of Plenty was a magnitude 5.2, 20km northwest of Matawai which took place on 7 October 2019.

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence is running a competition on its Facebook page on the day, with a ‘luxury’ emergency kit worth $600 to give away.

You can receive alerts about earthquakes by downloading the Red Cross Hazard App. More information on the national earthquake drill ShakeOut can be accessed at .