Emergency Mobile Alerts to Benefit the Hurunui
The Hurunui District will soon benefit from a nationwide launch of a new service to keep people informed in an emergency. The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management is partnering with other authorised agencies to roll out ‘Emergency Mobile Alert’ to alert people if their lives, property or health are at serious risk.
The system uses cell broadcast technology to send messages to enabled phones, so alerts can be targeted to specific geographic locations. Residents of the Hurunui will not need to sign up to receive alerts, or download an app, as alerts will be sent to every enabled phone in the region.
Hurunui District’s Emergency Management Officer Allan Grigg says this is an exciting development towards strengthening our emergency alerting systems across the district, particularly in light of the events of the past year.
“This new alert system will provide residents with capable phones in the district with extremely valuable and up to date information in the event of a natural disaster. The Emergency Mobile Alerts will detail the situation, what to do, the time, the agency sending the alert, and if needed, where to go for more information.”
“While we are aware there are areas of the district with poor or no mobile phone coverage, this system is just one of many systems we use to warn the public. International research shows we need a minimum of three types of alerting to reach the majority of the public. The Emergency Mobile Alert will simply become another means to alert the public,” he says.
A nationwide test of Emergency Mobile Alert is taking place on 26 November 2017 between 6 and 7pm. The Emergency Mobile Alert should appear automatically on the screens of capable mobile phones with a unique warning sound. As Emergency Mobile Alert is about keeping us safe, people are unable opt-out of receiving Emergency Mobile Alert.
The alerts can be targeted to affected areas, so residents will only get them if the emergency is in their area. It is expected that around one third of phones will immediately be able to receive and you can check whether your phone is capable of receiving the alert and find out more at www.civildefence.govt.nz.