Project AF8 - Alpine Fault

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Project AF8 (Alpine Fault Magnitude 8) is all about bringing together key agencies throughout the south island and coordinating the planning and preparation for a major event such as the Alpine Fault rupturing. The Project is a three-year programme of scientific modelling, response planning and community engagement that facilitates the spread of knowledge about the Alpine Fault and helps communities become better prepared and more resilient for a major event. 

Are you ready for an emergency? Kaikōura Gets Ready is the Council alerting tool that lets us send you REAL TIME emergency alerts based on where you live. You will only get alerts when we need you to TAKE ACTION. 

Gets Ready also helps in organising your neighbourhood, so that everyone is prepared in the event of an emergency.

Read more about Kaikōura Gets Ready here.

Sign up to Gets Ready here.

The AF8 project leaders have released a series of videos to mark two years of scientific research and scenario modelling. The videos correspond with completion of the draft SAFER (south island Alpine Fault Earthquake Response) Framework. This framework provides a template for agencies such as Civil Defence, emergency services and lifeline utilities to coordinate their planning for an Alpine Fault rupture.


What is the Alpine Fault?

The Alpine Fault is where two techtonic plates intersect on land. It is the part of the active boundary between the Pacific and Australian techtonic plates and runs 800km down the western side of the Southern Alps. It has potential to release a magnitude 8 earthquake and to produce a 400km rupture line.

The video below was released by AF8 and features Dr Caroline Orchiston explaining what the Alpine Fault is, how scientists have established its regular seismic history and uses the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake sequence to illustrate the kinds of impacts that an Alpine Fault rupture could have. 


Building community resilience

A key message from AF8 is the need for communities to be prepared for a major event, to be resilient and self-sufficient if an emergency occurs. 

By building community resilience, people are better prepared if an emergency strikes. Community and household plans allow people to be organised, connected and prepared for when emergencies strike. It sets plans for what you will do, where you will meet and how your will access your emergency kits. Knowing that your whānau are prepared means that you can better react during an emergency. 

'Happens' has a number of handy resources for preparing for an emergency. Whether it is your home, your work, your school or your neighbourhood, there is something for everyone. Preparation is the best defence for an emergency.

Gets Ready also allows household to sign up to Council emergency alerts and facilitates neighbourhoods to create emergency plans and phone trees. If you know someone who does not have access to a phone or email, make sure they are signed up - that way someone in their neighbourhood will know to check on them in an emergency. Sign up to Gets ready here, or read more about it here.  

Camp Glenorchy is an example of community preparedness and resilience. Situated at the head of Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown, New Zealand, the community is likely to lose access to the wider District in the event of an earthquake. Because it is being designed and built with resilience and sustainability in mind, its resilience for earthquakes is higher than that of other standard buildings. It has a 200 kilowatt solar farm that generates all electricity on-site, 30,000L storage space for water and composting toilets.

The camp is being built with the philosophy and principles of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), which is one of the most specific environmental building design certification tools in the world. See the video below to learn more about Camp Glenorchy.

Businesses need to be resilient too!

When an emergency strikes and business is halted, company owners and managers not only have their own future to look at, but those of it's staff. 

Businesses need to be prepared, flexible, adaptive and aware of what can go wrong before, during and after an emergency. Power might be out, water and communications as well. To remain operative, businesses need to have backup plans to ensure they can stay open. 


A south island multi-agency approach

Response to any major adversity is always a collaboration. CD works with Police, Fire and Emergency, Red Cross, St John, the Defence Force and more, to ensure the right information, communication and response needs are supplied to affected communities. 

CD starts with you: looking after yourself, your whānau, your neighbours and your community. 

When an emergency occurs, the CD head office/centre self-activates. Within an hour, there is a fully operating centre making decisions about what to do and what response looks like. The centre starts setting priorities, agreeing on actions and applying them. Decision making is clear, straightforward and quick. CD stresses the importance that communities are aware that they need to be capable of looking after themselves. Preparedness is the best emergency response tool.

The video below explains how CD will coordinate the response to a significant emergency, and emphasises the need for individuals, families and communities to be well prepared so they can look after themselves and those around them in the event of an emergency.


Project AF8

Project AF8 is a partnership of all the Emergency Management Groups in the South Island. It is funded by the Government through the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management's Resilience Fund. It involves scientists from six universities and Crown Research Institutes, emergency services, lifelines, iwi, health authorities and other agencies. 

So far the project has completed scenario modelling for the Alpine Fault. They have used the proposed scenarios to work with agencies throughout the south island to identify what impacts would occur to their communities and critical infrastructure.

The next step in the project is to plan in detail for a coordinated response to the impacts and disruptions that would occur. 

"Helping people to understand what an Alpine Fault earthquake will mean for them, their families and communities will be a central part of our next year's work," said Chair of the Project AF8 steering group, Angus McKay (Emergency Southland).

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Last update: 18 May 2018