Latest News & Public Notices

Drop, cover and hold tomorrow for ShakeOut 2020

14 October 2020

Wherever you are tomorrow at 9:30am you can Drop, Cover and Hold for up to one minute – and if you’re in a coastal area practice your tsunami hīkoi (evacuation).

Drop Cover Hold

Tomorrow, 15 October at 9:30am, is ShakeOut, New Zealand’s national earthquake and tsunami drill.

It’s held annually across the country to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake.

ShakeOut encourages us all to practice the ‘drop, cover, hold’ drill and tsunami hīkoi (a walk along your evacuation route inland or to higher ground) for those who are near the coast.

At 9:30 am tomorrow, Drop, Cover and Hold for 30–60 seconds:

  • DROP down on your hands and knees. This protects you from falling but lets you move if you need to.
  • COVER your head and neck (or your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk (if it is within a few steps of you). If there is no shelter nearby, cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  • HOLD on to your shelter (or your position to protect your head and neck) until the shaking stops. If the shaking shifts your shelter around, move with it.

Then, if you’re near the coast, practise your tsunami hīkoi.

Watch this video from NZ Civil Defence on what to do if you're near the shore during an earthquake:

Emergency Management Committee meeting

ShakeOut Quiz

(Click the graphic above to take the ShakeOut quiz)

Our Council’s Emergency Management Unit briefed the committee at its meeting today on preparations to disconnect the existing tsunami network of 29 sirens in place on the Coromandel following new national standards for public alerting systems set by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Read the committee's agenda here, or watch a recording of the meeting on our website at

This coming summer, the current siren network will remain in place, but the Emergency Management Committee approved the staff recommendation to disconnect the siren system by 30 September 2021.

In New Zealand, we’ve got hundreds of tsunami warning sirens with lots of different tones. On the Coromandel we have 29 sirens with a unique tone which is at odds with most of the country – so we’re not meeting the new national standards. That’s why we’re using a whole range of new technology tools to make sure people can stay informed.

The national tsunami warning siren (listen to it here) should also have the ability to have verbal warnings broadcast over them - something that can't be done with our current sirens.

“Our siren network is also old, expensive to maintain and ineffective,” says Garry Towler our Civil Defence Controller. “We spend approximately $6,000 annually maintaining these sirens and the current network of 29 sirens is totally non-compliant, hence the multi-channel approach we’re now taking.”

It would cost an estimated $5 million at least to replace the sirens with a compliant system. 

Over the summer and through next year we’ll be launching a public education campaign around tsunami warning signs, alert systems, and evacuation routes (hīkoi).

Check out the Emergency Management Unit section of our website for information on Community Response Plans and community guides to tsunami flooding and evacuation zones. 

Natural tsunami warning signs

Long Strong Gone

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.

Other ways to receive alerts and stay up to date:

Weather updates: MetService.

State Highways (SH25, SH25A, SH26 in the Coromandel): NZTA. You can also call NZTA on 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) for traffic and travel information. You can also use their journey-planning website to plan the best route for your journey, taking into account known issues and traffic on state highways.

Council roads: We will post regular updates on our Council's Facebook page as well as on our website and email newsletters. If you see an issue that needs attention, call us on 07 868 0200.

Local radio - Check stations and frequencies here.

Red Cross Hazards App - alerts about hazards. Download from the App Store or Google Play.

Emergency Mobile Alert - these can be sent to your mobile phone, without needing to download an app or sign up. Check if your phone is capable of receiving them, here

Waikato Regional Council has set up an online hub for rainfall and flood-related information to help people more easily keep up to date with severe weather events in the region. It can be found here.

Also follow Waikato Civil Defence on Facebook here and check out their website for updates here.

Know your neighbours - phone each other in an emergency, especially vulnerable people, to check if they're OK.

To report a power outage, contact your provider.

For more on these channels, and other information about staying informed in emergencies, go to the Civil Defence Get Ready website.