Your cell phone will receive an Emergency Mobile Alert (EMA) this weekend but don’t worry – it’s just a test!
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is undertaking a nationwide test of the EMA system on Sunday 28 May between 6pm and 7pm.
This means mobile phones across Tāmaki Makaurau will be sounding the distinctive emergency tone right on or around dinnertime this Sunday.
Councillor Sharon Stewart, Chair of the Auckland Civil Defence Emergency Management Committee says this nationwide test is a reminder for Aucklanders to think about their preparedness.
“We encourage Aucklanders to have a conversation about the upcoming Emergency Mobile Alert test with their whānau, friends and neighbours. This will help ensure no one is caught off guard on Sunday evening,” says Councillor Sharon Stewart.
“NEMA’s nationwide test is also a good opportunity to talk about how prepared your whānau, household or workplace is for an emergency.”
This could include making an emergency plan with a meeting point, knowing where to find accurate information in an emergency, or preparing a grab bag for yourself or your household.
Paul Amaral, General Manager, Auckland Emergency Management reminds Aucklanders that EMAs are just one channel used by emergency management agencies.
“Emergency Mobile Alerts are just one of many tools used in emergency management and don’t replace other alerting channels like radio or social media. You should also act on natural warning signs – if you feel your life is in danger, don’t wait for an official warning. Take immediate action.”
An annual test, the alert will be broadcast to all capable phones across Aotearoa. It allows NEMA to evaluate the system, cell towers, and the ability for mobile phones to receive the alert.
The test also helps New Zealanders to familiarise themselves with what an EMA looks like and how their phone presents the message.
Auckland Emergency Management has used the EMA tool seven times in 2023. Six times during the January floods and Cyclone Gabrielle and again in early May when a state of local emergency was declared. Other examples of when Aucklanders have received an EMA include during the SkyCity Convention Centre fire in 2019 (from Fire and Emergency NZ) and messages from the government to announce various COVID lockdown and alert level changes.
Visit NEMA’s website for more information on the nationwide EMA test.