This Sunday (24 November), between 6pm – 7pm, mobile phones across the country will beep loudly as the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management carries out its annual test of the national alerting platform, the Emergency Mobile Alert. At the same time, Emergency Management Bay of Plenty will be testing the regional alerting tools, including the public warning sirens, Red Cross Hazard app and text alerts.   

Director of Emergency Management Bay of Plenty Clinton Naude explains that the Emergency Mobile Alert system uses the cell network to send a notification direct to your phone.

“It means we can quickly notify people about a serious threat or emergency in their area. People don’t have to download an app or subscribe to the service but they do have to have a mobile phone capable of receiving the alert and ensure its operating system software is up to date,” he says.

“Last test we learned that around 60% of the population received the alert. This time around, that number is expected to jump again as more people upgrade their phones. That makes it an incredibly powerful tool to deliver notifications of serious threats such as a tsunami,” he says.

“No single tool is perfect though, and we continue to advise people to know their local hazards, be prepared and to make a plan. We also encourage people to download the Red Cross Hazard app as another option for both receiving alerts and to aid in preparedness,” he says.

“We’re taking advantage of the increased awareness created by the national Emergency Mobile Alert system test to also carry out a short technical test of the public warning sirens in the Whakatāne, Coastlands, Ōhope and Ōpōtiki areas. The test will be a continuous siren for approximately 30 seconds,” Mr Naude adds.

More info on the test and the Emergency Mobile Alert system can be found at www.bopcivildefence.govt.nz .