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An Alpine Fault earthquake will be felt by every South Islander and many North Islanders.

Experts say it will be the largest natural disaster in New Zealand’s modern history.
Emergency management officials throughout the South Island are preparing for what to expect, how to co-ordinate a response and how to continue to operate as close to ‘business as usual’ as possible after an Alpine Fault rupture.

NMH emergency response manager Pete Kara says the potential for an Alpine Fault rupture is the reason NMH takes business continuity planning so seriously. He says our capability to implement continuity plans has increased over time with support from the New Zealand and the Australian Medical Assistance teams.

Part of our preparedness involves constantly reviewing our emergency management plans, testing generators every month and refreshing the 20,000 litres of diesel.
Pete says we are also doing work on the George Manson and Percy Brunette blocks at Nelson Hospital to make sure they are safe.

NMH is one of the few DHBs in the country to own an air shelter. The 9 x 6 metre shelter can be connected to shelters owned by St John, Red Cross and the New Zealand Medical Assistance team, to use as an emergency ‘field hospital’.
NMH has access to EMIS – the emergency management information system that stores our plans on servers so that they can be accessed from anywhere in the country, in case we can’t get to our own servers.

There is also an extensive radio network established between Nelson and Marlborough, satellite phone coverage and VHF coverage to Murchison and Golden Bay.

alpine fault exposure sml

The famous Alpine Fault over-thrust at Gaunt Creek, north of Haast where the Pacific Plate slides over the top of the Australian Plate