Latest News & Public Notices

Tsunami warning sirens won't be tested any more

15 December 2016

We're calling a halt to the annual testing of our tsunami warning siren system on the Coromandel Peninsula because the sirens do not comply with a recently developed national standard. But don't worry, in the event of a real tsunami alert, our 30 warning sirens around the Coromandel will still go off.

Red Cross app

At its 13 December meeting, our Council agreed with the recommendation of our Civil Defence Controller, Garry Towler, that until the Coromandel's 30 sirens are compliant with the new standard there is a risk of public confusion through continuing to test them.

The new national standard sets a consistent tone for tsunami warning sirens that is the same across the country. It is a tone that repeatedly rises. Click here to listen to it (it may take a minute to load).

Our current tsunami warning sirens sound similar to the volunteer fire brigade fire sirens but when activated rise and stay on a high-pitched tone for 10 minutes or more.

Sirens that meet the new standard should also have the ability to have verbal warnings broadcast over them - something that can't be done on our current sirens.

Our Council will now examine replacing the current sirens with ones compliant with the national standard as part of the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan development, with discussions to be scheduled for mid-2017.

Get Ready Get Thru

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management advises that sirens should be only one component within a wider warning system.

If there is a nearby earthquake, there will be little warning of a possible tsunami. The best warning in this case is the natural warning signs. If you experience any of the following go immediately uphill or inland as far as you can:

  • A strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up;
  • A long, weak earthquake that lasts a minute or more;
  • Unusual sea behaviour such as the sea level suddenly rising and falling, or the sea making loud and unusual noises or roaring like a jet engine.

Remember 'long, strong, gone'. If you feel a quake that's long, or strong - don't wait for a tsunami warning. Move to high ground or as far inland as you can. Walk if you can. Stay there until you get the all clear.

It's important to have made some preparations in advance: have a household evacuation plan and share it with your friends and family so they will know where you are likely to be if communications are compromised.

Prepare an emergency survival kit. You may need to survive away from home, or in your home with no power and cut off from towns, for up to a week.

More information on emergency plans and survival kits is available on the Civil Defence 'Get Ready Get Thru' web page.

Multiple communications channels

Download the Red Cross Hazards App if you have a smartphone or mobile device. Emergency alerts come through this app from official agencies (MetService, Civil Defence, GNS Science and others) and you can monitor up to five locations. Don't turn off your device at night - just in case a quake strikes that you can't feel but that may pose a tsunami threat.

The Red Cross Hazards app is available from:
App store for iOS devices
Google Play store for Android devices

Get emergency updates from our Council's Emergency Twitter feed to your mobile phone via SMS text message by texting follow TC_DC to 8987. You don't need a Twitter account to do this, just a mobile phone that can receive text messages.

Check our Council's home page for news updates and alerts, follow our Facebook page and subscribe to our email newsletters.

We will provide up-to-date information in the event of any emergency on all these channels.

If you don't have a smartphone or other mobile device, or don't use the internet, organise someone who does to call you and vice-versa. Think about elderly neighbours, family and friends who are perhaps on their own and may need support.

The more avenues of communication you have in the event of an emergency, the better informed you will be in case some of those channels are cut.

And remember, don't leave preparations for an evacuation to the time you have to evacuate - plan ahead and have an evacuation plan and an emergency survival kit ready.

Our Council has been working with Waikato Regional Council to analyse and map the tsunami risks to our coastal communities.

The maps of tsunami hazard zones are progressively being made available at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/Tsunamihazard/

 Our next Tsunami open day is in Whitianga on Saturday 28 January 2017, from 9:30am to 3:30pm at the Whitianga Town Hall.