Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Tsunami sirens to be silenced

Auckland Council has today announced the majority of the city’s tsunami warning sirens will be deactivated from 1 December.

Council says the sirens will be decommissioned, with the Emergency Mobile Alert to become the preferred method of warning of dangerous tsunami threats. 

Auckland Emergency Management General Manager, Paul Amaral says the Emergency Mobile Alert is an effective and reliable way to alert the public to a tsunami threat. 

“In the event of a potential tsunami that could cause damaging waves or flood the land, an Emergency Mobile Alert will be broadcast to all capable mobile phones,” he said.

“This is an effective and tried and tested means of alerting people to danger. 

“The Meerkat sirens at many sites across Tāmaki Makarau have been prone to vandalism and theft and therefore ultimately couldn’t be relied on as part of our tsunami alerting system.” 

Auckland Council’s Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee chairperson, Councillor Sharon Stewart reiterated the effectiveness of the Emergency Mobile Alert. 

“Aucklanders have become increasingly familiar with the Emergency Mobile Alert as an effective way to alert them to danger, having experienced this through the pandemic and during this year’s extreme weather events,” she said.

On 5 September, Auckland Council’s Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee voted to decommission the aging and compromised Meerkat tsunami siren network. 

The decommissioning relates to the older siren network, and not the two sirens installed in Ōrewa at in 2020, which will remain. 

The tsunami sirens that will be deactivated from 1 December are located in: 

Rodney Ward: Point Wells (3), Whangateau (1), Omaha (6) 

Albany Ward: Hobsonville (1), Waiwera (1), Herald Island (3) 

Waitākere Ward: Bethells / Te Henga (3), Piha (9), Karekare (3), Whatipū (1), Huia (6), Te Atatū (5) 

Council says many of these sites have older sirens installed which have been stolen or vandalised and use older, outdated technology.  

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