If you’re still napping around midday Sunday 3 April, enjoying an extra hour or two of sleep daylight saving brings, be prepared for a harsh wakeup call if you live in the Rodney, Waitākere Ranges or Hibiscus and Bays areas.
That’s because Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) will be testing the region’s tsunami siren network.
The scheduled six-monthly siren test will sound at noon with one important change; it will be a combination of alert sounds and voice instructions advising what actions residents should take.
There will be no Emergency Mobile Alert (EMA) sent to mobile phones during this testing; this platform is tested separately at a national level at a later date.
So be prepared at midday when the tsunami siren will sound for no longer than 5 minutes. In an emergency, tones will last for longer.
The team is urging people not to panic when the sirens sound and reminding them they don't have to do anything except recognise the sound and know what it is.
“It’s important to test the sirens to make sure they’re working and to remind Aucklanders what they sound like. There’s no cause for alarm during the testing and no action is required by the public.”, Auckland Emergency Management’s General Manager Paul Amaral says.
The test is routine, carried out twice yearly at the change of daylight saving. In 2021, the tsunami sirens were not tested in September changeover due to the COVID-19 Alert Level.
New siren sounds
The new tsunami sirens will be a combination of alert sounds and voice instructions on what you should do.
The voice message is deliberately recorded slowly to compensate for the reverberations and echoes that occur when using large public address systems in a wide-open space.
New tsunami siren pattern & test message:
“Attention Please. This is a test of the Auckland Emergency Management Tsunami Siren Network. The next sound you hear will be the standard emergency warning signal.”
Siren tone (5x “whoops”)
“In the event of a siren activation, follow the instructions that accompany this signal. Thank you.”
Stay informed and prepared
The sirens are only “one of a range of alerting methods” AEM uses to warn the public of a tsunami emergency.
“We will always use a range of different types of alerts to get the message out during a tsunami emergency. The sirens will help warn people in the evacuation zone who are outside enjoying the day, while the radio, TV, online sources and Emergency Mobile Alert systems will help reach people who may be inside or distracted.”
Paul says if members of the public hear the siren, but are unable to understand every word, they should always check their mobile phone for an Emergency Mobile Alert, online sources, or the media to seek more information.
It’s a good opportunity for families and friends to have conversations about planning for emergencies, especially preparing grab bags or agreeing on meeting places if you are not together.
“Find out if you live in a tsunami evacuation zone and what you need to do to be safe.”
To find out if you are in a tsunami evacuation zone check out AEM’s hazards viewer.
For more information, visit Auckland Emergency Management website.
Download The Red Cross Hazards App for free from your mobile app store. The app is a useful tool to help you get through emergencies and receive disaster alerts for your selected area.