Theft of tsunami sirens unacceptable, putting life at risk

Publish Date : 11 Oct 2022
Theft Of Tsunami Sirens Unacceptable, Putting Life At Risk
Tsunami sirens can be stand alone, like the one pictured, or attached to buildings or power poles.

The ongoing theft of the region’s tsunami sirens is unacceptable and must stop, says Auckland Emergency Management (AEM).

Sirens at Huia, Whatipu, Karekare, Piha and Te Henga (on Auckland’s west coast) have been subjected to ongoing vandalism, with sirens vandalised and removed.

AEM’s Head of Capability and Public Awareness Adam Maggs says the actions of vandals stealing the sirens put the public’s life at risk and come at a significant cost to ratepayers.

“This is not a new issue,” says Adam, referring to number of sirens that went missing earlier in the year. “However in recent weeks this unacceptable behaviour has escalated, affecting a significant number of sites along the west coast.

“These sirens are specifically designed for alerting and are of no use for any other purpose, including playing music, making this a malicious and wasteful act of vandalism.

“They are also not an ‘off-the-shelf’ product, which means they cannot simply be replaced,” he says.

AEM is currently looking into replacement options but has to consider sourcing products offshore, international shipping requirements and the long-term sustainability of a product prone to vandalism.

No siren may limit audible tsunami warnings

“The loss of sirens means that the audible warnings for a tsunami threat at these locations may not be functioning at full capacity or as you might expect – for example, some areas may have fewer operating sirens.

“But sirens are only one way to be informed of the threat of a tsunami. Warnings will be sent by Emergency Mobile Alert (messages to your mobile phone), broadcast on radio and television or via the news media, and social media platforms.

“And of course, if you are at the coast and feel an earthquake which is long or strong, move inland or to higher ground immediately,” says Adam.

Stay informed and prepared

To find out more about tsunami, warnings and other hazards, or to check if you live in a tsunami evacuation zone in Auckland’s Hazards Viewer, please visit the Auckland Emergency Management website

What to do if you notice a missing or damaged tsunami siren

If you observe anyone tampering with sirens, please contact the Police immediately.

If you notice damaged or missing tsunami sirens, call us on 09 301 0101 or report it via Auckland Council's report a problem tool.

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