Whangarei and Kaipara District tsunami sirens will be tested in coastal and harbour locations along the east coast from Bland Bay through to Mangawhai Heads on Sunday April 6.
Sirens will sound for 10 minutes at 9.20am and again for 30 seconds at 10am. Their blue lights will flash throughout the period of the test.
The network of 73 sirens is managed by Whangarei District Civil Defence Emergency Management Officer Victoria Randall and maintained and activated with the assistance of Northpower, free of charge, using the existing ripple control system.
“The biannual tsunami siren testing is an opportunity to educate people about what to do when the sirens are sounded,” said Ms Randall. “The correct action for people to take when they hear the siren is to turn on the radio, TV, computer or to contact someone who can access these sources of information, to find out what is going on.”
A tsunami siren doesn’t automatically mean to evacuate the coast. Giving people early warning that they need to seek information helps to prevent panic, ensures the public are well informed and ready to do what they need to when instructions to evacuate are given.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management gets information out to all media as soon as the possibility of a tsunami is known and coastal emergency networks and emergency services are advised.
“Information is received in Northland from the scientific team at the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and at that point the decision of whether or not to activate the tsunami sirens, will be made based on the level of risk stated in the information received. Tsunami sirens will always be activated if there is a threat to land and our communities.”
There are 14 coastal communities identified within the Whangarei District. Each has a Community Response Group made up of volunteers. The group coordinators are the key contacts for Civil Defence and each group has developed a community response plan.
These plans are used by communities during a response to a Civil Defence event, including a tsunami. Community response plans can be viewed at wdc.govt.nz. Further information at nrc.govt.nz/civildefence or facebook.com/civildefencenorthland.