Preparing for emergencies, traumatic incidents, evacuations and lockdowns
Your school or early learning service may face a natural disaster, pandemic, criminal acts or student suicide. An emergency event may require an evacuation or a lockdown. It’s important to be prepared for these events.
- Emergency planning
- Mataara emergency contact tool
- Suicide prevention
- Further information from other agencies
The Emergency management template to help you develop your own emergency plan.
Emergency planning guidance for planning for an emergency or traumatic incident. It complements both the:
- Emergency Management Plan, and
- Traumatic Incidents: Managing Student and Staff Wellbeing.
In an emergency we want to connect with you as quickly and simply as possible, and we especially want to know if you need our help.
- How we can contact you quickly in an emergency
- Your response to the emergency text
- Areas without mobile phone coverage
- Ministry text number 8707
- Your contact details
- If you have an emergency
We have developed Mataara, a mass contact tool that allows us to quickly text message and email you in the event of an emergency in your area (such as a fire, flood or earthquake). You can then reply letting us know the status of your school or early learning service. We collate this information and use it to plan and prioritise our response. We can also provide this collated information to other agencies such as NZ Police and Civil Defence.
If we don’t hear back from a school or early learning service, we will quickly follow up to see if everything is OK.
After we send you a text regarding an emergency, you simply reply by text with a number (1, 2, 3, 4 or 5), what each number means will be explained in the text we send you. An example of a message you might receive is:
Message from MOE: We’ve been advised of Flooding in your area. Please reply:
- (Open-NEED HELP)
- (Closed-NEED HELP), or
- (Do not normally operate today)
If you need help we will contact you as soon as possible.
You can also add additional wording to your reply. For example “4 – classrooms flooded” or “3 – we have asked parents to pick their children up now as roads may not stay open”.
If you are in an area without mobile phone coverage and cannot reply to the text, in most emergencies you will also receive an email. It will have a link for you to follow and a form on which you can select the same options as above, and have the opportunity to comment on additional property damage information (if relevant).
Mataara is free for you to use. The text comes from 8707 which will only be used by the Ministry. You may like to save this number to your phone as assurance that an emergency text has come from us.
Mataara uses your emergency contact mobile phone and email address (one of each). If your information needs updating please contact your local regional office to let them know.
Please note that you cannot initiate the emergency message process, you can only respond when we send you a text or email. If you would like to notify us of an emergency, you should do so in the normal way - contact emergency services if necessary and your local regional Ministry of Education office.
Find out how to prepare and implement a pandemic plan.
- Quick Guide to Pandemic Planning
- Pandemic Planning Guide [DOC, 813 KB] (full guide)
- Emergency Management Plan template (including a template for pandemic) [DOC, 719 KB]
- Communicable diseases in schools and early learning services - Guide to legal powers
The Get Ready website has information on how to prepare yourself personally for an emergency.
What's the Plan Stan is a resource that primary- and intermediate-level teachers can use to develop their students’ knowledge and skills to prepare for, and safely respond to, disasters.
If you're an early learning service, you'll find more information in the Early Learning section of this website.
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