Total Fire Ban reminder

The Total Fire Ban signs show up on Waikawa Beach Road about 3 Km from the village. This whole area is under a permanent total fire ban all year round. Fire and Rescue has been giving us some good clear reminder signs though, including one at the vehicle entrance on Manga Pirau Street:

This beach has an all year round Prohibited Fire Season from the Mean Water Line to the Eastern Boundary of the Sand Dunes.

Gas cookers or Gas barbeques are permitted at any time on the beach but excludes use within the Sand Dunes.

Total Fire Ban Area.
Total Fire Ban Area.
Total Fire Ban sign at vehicle entrance.
Total Fire Ban sign at vehicle entrance.

We have quite a clutter of signs now at that beach entrance — a bit of a shame given that it’s the only spot in Waikawa Beach where the public can get a fantastic view without needing to go down to the beach proper.

View from the vehicle entrance.
View from the vehicle entrance (past all the signs).

Beware phone scams

Beware phone scams. If in doubt about the caller hang up and find the company’s number then call back.

The local Neighbourhood Support Co-ordinator sent on this info:

There's a fake Spark Technician phone hack going around getting you to download a programme called Supremo to sort out your computer. Don't do it — hang up.

They know your computer number, your details and give you a pin and phone number to ring to confirm they are legit.

Remember not to have your bank account pin number automatically on your account — type it in each time so no one has automatic entry into your hard earned funds.

If you receive a call like this see if the number comes up on your phone and write it down, then ring Spark so they can at least try to trace the origin.

I’d add that if you’re unsure if such calls are legit or not never call back on a number they give you. Instead look up the phone number for the company for yourself and call that number.

Some of the recent scam calls I received.
Some of the recent scam calls I received.

As a Vodafone customer, I’ve recently had quite a few scam phone calls originating from overseas. They address me by name but they aren’t anyone I have any dealings with. I hang up and then block the number on my cellphone.

When to use a defibrillator

When might you need to use the defibrillator we have on hand at Waikawa Beach?

Waikawa Beach has a defibrillator in a lockbox on the side of the changing rooms at Hank Edwards Reserve, but would you know when you might need to use it? Here’s some guidance.

AED Defibrillator — inside.
AED Defibrillator — inside.

A defibrillator delivers a safe electric shock to restart a heart that has stopped beating. WebMD says:

The first step in saving a life is being able to recognize an emergency. Know the warning signs of a heart attack. Anyone who is unresponsive should receive emergency care. If you are with someone who complains of chest pain and then collapses, odds are he or she is having a heart attack or is in cardiac arrest. If possible, have someone else call [111] while you start CPR.

How to use a defibrillator

The 111 operator will talk you through how to start CPR and the AED has instructions on how to use it. It involves placing pads on a person’s chest, letting the AED analyse what’s needed and then pressing a button if the machine instructs you to.

Why do I need an AED?

St John’s says:

  1. Each year more than 2,000 New Zealanders will suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital
  2. For 64% of cardiac arrests a bystander will perform CPR
  3. People may show no warnings or prior symptoms and 15% survive to hospital discharge following a cardiac arrest
  4. Use of an AED within 3-5 min of collapse can increase the chance of survival by up to 40%

Beat the burglars and lock up

Be sure to lock up your properties at night and when you’re not around. Unfortunately, thieves and burglars are about at this time of year.

Our Neighbourhood Support Co-ordinator, Frank Averes, has alerted us to be sure to lock up our houses, sheds and garages. Unfortunately, Waikawa Beach isn’t remote enough for thieves to ignore us:

This email is just to alert the wider community to a burglary in the village last night (Thursday, 07 December 2017) where a number of items were stolen from a garage. This was in the central village area.

Please check your properties when you are next able to, and if anything is untoward, do report it to the police as quick as you can.

Make sure your properties are secure when you leave. Note, out buildings are still vulnerable even if you are close by and asleep, so double check your buildings are securely locked each night.

Update: I’ve just learned of a further burglary last night [Saturday, 9 December 2017], closer to the southern end of the main village. This one involved a motor bike, so if you come across an abandoned bike, or anything unusual, please do report it.

How to protect your home

NZ Police say:

  • Always lock up. Burglars often enter through unlocked doors and windows or they take advantage of weak locks.
  • Install good quality locks and use them. Check that you will be able to escape easily in a fire or other emergency.
  • Use a reputable locksmith.
  • Lock the front door if you’re in the back garden.
  • Lock your house if you are having a rest or doing something that needs a lot of concentration, such as studying or sewing.
  • Lock away tools and ladders because burglars could use them to break in.
  • Lock garden sheds and your garage if you can.
  • Sensor lights are an excellent security device because they light up automatically if somebody moves nearby.
  • Keep trees and shrubs trimmed so they don’t provide hiding places for burglars.
  • Keep windows secure.
  • Guard your keys. Don’t have personal details on your keys (such as your name, phone number or address). Don’t leave house keys with your car keys when your car is being serviced.
  • Don’t invite burglars in – never leave notes on a door stating that you are out.
  • When you go away, make sure your home looks ‘lived in’.

The signs are all there

New signs at the vehicle entrance help keep us on track.

If you’ve visited the vehicle entrance to the beach (from the end of Manga Pirau Street) lately you may have seen the new signs. On one side we have a warning about soft sand and a caution against dumping green waste and rubbish.

Soft sand; no dumping rubbish.
Soft sand; no dumping rubbish.

On the other, the fire ban is made clear.

No fires in this area.
No fires in this area.

We also still have the signs about how access to the beach is courtesy of the landowners, the information board about our beach, and the tsunami zone information. Happy reading! Shame about the view though.

The Takapu Road tsunami safe zone

We could be affected by a tsunami one day. Do you know what to do and where to go?

Did you know that a tsunami can travel at up to 800 kilometres per hour in open water? Yes, that’s eight hundred. And far from being a really really big wave, it’s a wall of water with a speed and force that’s almost incomprehensible. Anyone who’s ever seen the videos of the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan could not fail to understand the power and force of that wall of water as it washed ships ashore, carried houses away and crumbled buildings.

Here in New Zealand we’ve recently had a few almost false-alarm tsunami, less than a metre in height. They may make us complacent, feeling that a tsunami isn’t a big thing. But if a really big earthquake struck nearby we could face something quite terrifying.

The thing is, there could be little to no warning. That’s why the advice is:

… move immediately to the nearest high ground or as far inland as you can if you are at the coast and you experience any of the following:

  • feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • hear loud and unusual noises from the sea

Source: Horowhenua District Council.

So, where do you go? Well, first and foremost, higher ground — a bit in short supply near here.

Next, drive away from the beach along Waikawa Beach Road. The Council have now marked the road with a Tsunami safe zone blue line to show the maximum probable extent of inland inundation. That line is 1 Km west of Takapu Road. But don’t stop there — leave room for others behind you and go further up the road. The school at Manakau is our local civil defence centre.

Tsunami Safe Zone road markings appear.
Tsunami Safe Zone road markings appear.

Keep in mind that the water will follow the path of least resistance: it’ll rush in through breaches in the dunes, and up the river and surely swamp the low-lying land that floods every time there’s a big fall of rain.

When you leave take your emergency bag with you and your pets, if you can. Do you have a neighbour who may need help? We’re a community who must rely on one another.

Last year the Council put signs near the beach with information about coastal hazards. Take a minute to read one next time you pass.

Coastal hazard zones.
Coastal hazard zones.