The launch of Emergency Mobile Alerts – a new platform to keep people informed in an emergency – represents another major advance in public alerting.
The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) has led the delivery of the new system, which will also be used by Fire and Emergency New Zealand, New Zealand Police, the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Ministry of Health and Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups to warn people if their lives, property or health are at serious risk.
The system uses cell broadcast technology to send messages to enabled phones. A nationwide public test of the new system will take place between 6pm and 7pm this Sunday (26 November).
Northlanders are encouraged to find out whether their phone is capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts – in advance of the test – by visiting the Civil Defence website:
The information available on that website includes a list of compatible phones, plus previews of the test message and an audio clip of the alert sound.
Not all phones are currently capable of receiving the alerts (the expectation is that about a third of phones will immediately be able to receive alerts but this will rise over time). In the meantime, the message from MCDEM is to look after others: if you receive an alert, tell neighbours, whanau and colleagues.
Emergency Mobile Alerts is an additional channel and does not replace other alerting systems and information channels.
The Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group will continue to use all of its existing options in addition to Emergency Mobile Alerts, and recommends that Northlanders take maximum advantage of all of them.
These include the free Red Cross Hazard app for smartphones, along with online sources such as websites, social media, radio and TV.
This ‘toolbox’ approach can also extend to local neighbourhood arrangements, such as telephone trees or group texts.
People should still be aware of natural warning signs – of tsunami in particular – and if they feel their lives are in danger, take immediate action without waiting for an official warning.
To find out more about the Northland CDEM Group’s alerting platforms, visit the Northland Regional Council's website:
Get alerts to your smartphone