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Civil Defence & Emergency Management
~ Ngā Whakahaere Whawhati Tata

civil defence

Testing the Civil Defence Sirens

Napier's sirens are tested every three months. This is carried out by a member of the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management (MCDEM) Group. The test is a “flick test” and involves a member of staff being at each siren site, activating the siren for a second and recording the result.

This test ensures each siren is functioning correctly and the radio system is getting the message to each siren.

Tsunami and the sirens

The Napier sirens are NOT just for tsunami warnings - they are for any threat the public needs to be informed about.

  • The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) sends information out if an earthquake has occurred around the ring of fire (Pacific Ocean); this does NOT mean there will be a tsunami. This information is received by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) and analysed so accurate information can be released for New Zealand.
  • If we activated the sirens every time there was a tsunami warning/watch, they'd sound at least 20 times a year. That would be seen as "crying wolf”. If you heard the sirens sounding frequently, would you start taking the warnings less seriously? Would you know the difference between a drill and the real thing? When to take and when not?
  • So when the sirens are activated, you know it's for real. They'll be triggered by an event that will affect us all. Seek further information from any of the number of systems out there to inform you. Remember when the siren sounds you need to take action.
  • The sirens will only be used for tsunami if it is a Regional or Distance source tsunami - in other words we have more than four hours warning. For a local source tsunami the sirens will NEVER activate; this could occur after a long (longer than a minute) OR strong (strong enough to knock you off your feet) earthquake. You must evacuate immediately to high ground or inland. Remember: if it's long or strong, get gone.



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