Northland’s tsunami siren network will still be tested as usual at the end of daylight saving, Sunday April 5.
The network of more than 200 outdoor tsunami sirens in coastal communities from Te Hapua in the north to Mangawhai in the south and Ruawai in the west is checked twice a year, coinciding with the start and finish of daylight saving.
Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group Manager Graeme MacDonald said the decision to proceed with the test was driven primarily by the fact that New Zealand’s tsunami risk remains undiminished.
“We’re very much aware that Northlanders have come through an extended period of drought, and straight into the current nationwide lockdown for COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
“We also know that we have people in the region at the moment who don’t normally live here.
“However, we have this network for a reason – the fact that there have been a couple of earthquakes around the Pacific in recent weeks reinforces that. So even though we know people are unsettled, we would not be doing them any favours if we didn’t continue to test and maintain this valuable regional warning system.”
Mr MacDonald said participation in siren testing by the general public was not necessary. The volunteers who normally assist by monitoring the sirens for faults have been briefed on how to do so safely.
“Although we usually encourage people at this time to find out about tsunami evacuation zones and evacuation routes, on this occasion it’s completely fine with us if they just note the tsunami siren sound and carry on with their day,” said Mr MacDonald. “People in coastal communities can also help by making sure their neighbours are aware that the test is coming up – by phone, text or social media and by maintaining that two metres of physical distancing if doing so in person.”
The sirens sound twice: firstly at 10am for 10 minutes and then again at 10.30am for 30 seconds, and will be monitored for any faults.
Indoor sirens will be tested at the same time as the outdoor network. Test alerts will also be sent to users of the Red Cross Hazard app, which can be downloaded for free.
Northland’s tsunami sirens are funded and owned by the region’s three district councils (Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara) and operated in a partnership which also includes electricity networks Northpower and Top Energy.