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Acoustic testing of Orewa tsunami sirens

Published: 17 November 2020

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Sirens to sound

Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) will be carrying out a full acoustic test on the two new tsunami sirens in Orewa on Monday.  

While now fully operational, following a successful technical test in late September, bad weather on the day meant that acoustic testing had to be postponed.

AEM General Manager Kate Crawford says the acoustic testing will allow engineers to measure the maximum reach of the siren sounds.

“The test requires a relatively still day with little wind and as spring is a particularly changeable season for Auckland’s weather, a five-day window has been identified,” Kate said.

“The test will be carried out on the first day of settled weather in the window.”

The rescheduled sound tests will be performed between 12 noon and 12:15 pm on the first settled day between 23 and 27 November. 

UPDATE: Auckland Emergency Management advises that the rescheduled sound test for the Orewa Tsunami sirens will take place on Monday 23 November. The sirens will be activated three times between 12pm and 12.15pm. This is just a test and the public is not required to take any action.

An example clip of the siren noise is below:

Three test messages will be played during the 15-minute period. Residents will be sent details about the test window, with the exact date notified to media and updated on AEM’s Facebook and Twitter accounts the day prior to it happening. 

After the successful completion of the sound tests, the sirens will be next activated during the regional siren network test at the change of daylight savings twice a year, or during a tsunami emergency.

“The earlier testing on 27 September established that the connections between the siren trigger systems and Auckland Emergency Management computer networks were working as they should.

“All systems behaved as expected and the sirens are now fully operational and part of the regional alerting network.”

Kate said Auckland Emergency Management staff were on-site during both tests and spoke with many Orewa residents who went to watch the test and were pleased the sirens were installed and operational.

The sounds from the Orewa sirens are designed to reach 90 per cent of the population within the tsunami evacuation zone. The new sirens use a mixture of tones and voice instructions to alert as many people as possible that action is required. 

Get more information on siren testing on the Auckland Emergency Management website.

The sirens are just one tool used to alert the public to tsunami emergencies. Alerts and instructions could also come via the media or online from official sources.

“Emergency Mobile Alerts (EMA) are tested nationally by the National Emergency Management Agency and so aren’t part of AEM’s regular testing. However, in a real tsunami emergency, residents would also receive an EMA,” she said.


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