Do you know what to do in the event of volcanic activity? Find out what you need to know, how to prepare, what to do when it happens and also what to do after the event.
New Zealand is situated on the "Ring of Fire", a geographic belt encircling the Pacific Ocean and containing about 90% of the earth’s volcanoes. Volcanoes usually have short active periods, separated by longer dormant periods. The three main types of volcanoes found in New Zealand are cone volcanoes such as Mount Ruapehu; volcanic fields such as the ones found in the Auckland area; and calderas such as Lake Taupo.
Volcanoes produce a wide variety of hazards that can harm people and damage property nearby as well as hundreds of kilometres away. Hazards include widespread ashfall, very fast moving mixtures of hot gases and volcanic rock, and massive lahars.
If a life-threatening eruption is likely to occur, a civil defence emergency will be declared and the areas at risk will be evacuated.
GNS Science is responsible for monitoring volcanic activity and setting alert levels.
GeoNet continuously monitors New Zealand's active volcanoes. The overall activity for each volcano is quantified by setting an alert level from 0 to 5. Response agencies in New Zealand are notified whenever the alert level changes, and they use it to determine the type and scope of their responses.
It is important if you live in the Bay of Plenty to consider the risk of a volcanic eruption and get ready:
Stay informed! Know how you will stay updated before, during and after an event.
The appropriate actions to take when a volcano threatens depends on level/type of activity and how far you are away. Stay informed and listen to your local radio station for updates.
During a Volcanic Eruption
Always seek advice of on the best course of action for that specific event
Stay indoors and away from areas with volcanic ash as much as possible. Volcanic ash is very hazardous and the fine, glassy particles can increase the health risks for children and people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema.
If you have to go outdoors
Seek advice from your council or public health unit whether other water sources are safe to be used.
Volcanic ash can have major affects on towns, cities and farmlands.
Ash will usually make drinking water unpalatable (sour, metallic or bitter tasting) before it presents a health risk.
You may eat vegetables from the garden but wash them first.