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Test alert systems in Hawke's Bay

If you hear sirens or “stingers” just before midday on Sunday 2 April, don’t be alarmed – it will be the region’s public alert systems being tested.

The 17 sirens in Napier will sound for five minutes from 11.50am; civil defence volunteers will be driving around Waimarama, Clive, the Cape Kidnappers coast and Whirinaki with “stingers”, and Wairoa coastal residents’ alert will come via a broadcast warning from a helicopter – weather permitting. Central Hawke’s Bay will be testing its coastal community telephone contacts list, using its new automatic “telephone tree” system which allows a computer to call volunteers simultaneously.

It’s part of the regular testing regime by the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, which will also be testing the Red Cross Hazards App on the day.

HB Emergency Management Group wants to remind the public of what the alert systems are for – encouraging everyone to seek further information, whether by tuning in to a local radio station and awaiting further instructions, visiting the hbemergency website, or the hbemergency Facebook page.

In a real emergency situation Hawke’s Bay radio station announcers will broadcast the latest advice from Civil Defence regarding what to do in an event.

“The Government is currently developing a national warning system but we still need to maintain and test our existing systems to ensure they are ready to go at all times,” says Ian Macdonald, HB Emergency Management Group Manager.

A key part of the testing is the survey people are encouraged to complete. The survey, which will be available online from noon on 2 April, until noon 14 April, will help the HB Emergency Management Group determine how effective the various components of the system are.

It will also be published in the Napier and Hastings Mails on 29 March and 5 April.

HB Emergency Management Group staff want to hear not only from people who did hear the alerts, but also those who didn’t, as it will help them pinpoint any faulty equipment or “blackspots” where the alerts did not reach.

If you complete the survey online before 1pm on 2 April your name will go into a draw to win emergency themed prizes, an emergency water tank, fitted, a family sized Grab n’ Go bag, for supplies and equipment you may need if you have to leave in a hurry, and a Grab n’ Go bag for an individual.

Remember in the event of a major earthquake, that is, one which lasts longer than a minute or is strong enough to knock you off your feet, the sirens will not sound and the best thing to do is to head for higher ground or at least 1.5km inland immediately.  Do not wait for a warning – remember this phrase: Strong or long get gone!

For more information, go to www.hbemergency.govt.nz, check for updates on Facebook (www.facebook.com/hbemergency) or Twitter @hbemergency. For information about a specific area, contact the relevant Emergency Management Officer at the Napier, Hastings, Central Hawke’s Bay or Wairoa Councils.

Are you signed up for Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence text alerts? Those signed up will receive a text explaining the type of emergency and what action should be taken. The texting service will also be tested on 2 April. To sign up text follow napier_cd to 8987. Please note this facility is only available to Spark and Skinny customers due to Vodafone and 2 Degrees policy.

27 March 2017

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