Friday, July 19, 2024

Emergency Mobile Alert system testing tonight

More than 90% of New Zealanders can expect to receive this year’s nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert system tonight between 6-7pm.

“Emergency Mobile Alert is a tool that can alert people when their life, health, or property, is in danger,” said Emergency Management Minister, Kieran McAnulty.

“The annual nationwide test is a way to check the systems, cell towers and your phone’s ability to receive an Emergency Mobile Alert, which these days means most people, so we have confidence it will perform as it should in an emergency.”

He said the Emergency Mobile Alert uses internationally proven cell broadcast technology, meaning there is no need to subscribe or download an app – all you need is a mobile phone capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts, and a network signal. 

“In an emergency, an alert may be sent to target areas affected by serious hazards. If you get an alert, stop, and read the message, and take it seriously. It will tell you what the emergency is and what to do. It will also tell you which agency sent the message and, if needed where to go for more information.”

“This is the fifth test, but it can come as a shock to some so please let your family members know. Most of us will be familiar with the system and alert sound. Most people would have already received them before in a real-life emergency, whether that’s a tsunami, severe weather, a fire, a chemical leak, a boil water notice, or a COVID-19 alert level rise.

“Our findings from the 2022 Disaster preparedness survey reported that 95 per cent of New Zealanders either received the 2022 test EMA themselves or were near someone else who did. That’s really good coverage. So, we can expect to see a similar proportion receiving the test alert this year,” Mr McAnulty said.

Emergency Mobile Alert is an additional channel to help keep communities safe and does not replace other ways to stay informed, or natural warnings, the Minister said.

“No form of technology is completely failsafe, you should also rely on other alerting channels such as radio or social media, or the need to act upon natural warning signs. If you feel your life is in danger, don’t wait for an official warning. For example, remember – if you are near the coast and an earthquake is ‘Long or Strong, Get Gone’.”

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