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Sign up for emergency text alerts

Tuesday, 6 May 2014 4:00 p.m.

Bay of Plenty residents can now sign up to receive civil defence text alerts.

The free alerts will let you know if there is a significant emergency in the region. The texts, from Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management, will be sent only for serious threats to life and property, such as tsunami warnings, major earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and severe weather events where time is of the essence in getting people to take action.

Regional Manager Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Clinton Naude said anyone can subscribe free to the text alert system through the Bay of Plenty Civil Defence website The system will be used only for serious threats, and include a very short simple message outlining the threat and telling people to listen to the radio for more information.  

“Even if you live out of the region but have friends, family or property in the Bay you may want to sign up to receive a text message for serious emergencies,” Mr Naude said.

“People won’t get inundated with texts from us; this system will only be used for significant threats to life or property where time is critical. We will continue to use media, the website and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter for other alerts, warnings and general information or public education.

“We hope we will never have to use it, but we’d like as many people as possible to sign up for the service. Most people have a cell phone nowadays, from children to the elderly, and this is a simple way to be informed if something serious happens. Once the threat is over people will also get an all-clear message,” Mr Naude said. 

A similar system is operating in Auckland and a couple of smaller regions, but the Bay is among the centres leading the way in implementing the text alert system. Close to 1000 people are already subscribing to the text system.

“Get all your family, friends, workmates and neighbours to sign up. The more people who participate, the better prepared we all will be in a serious emergency,” he said.

To sign up for the free texts, go to


Frequently asked questions:

What is the free text messaging system?

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management will send a text alert to anyone registered to inform them of significant threats and events, and where to find more information.

When will the texts be sent?

A text alert will be sent only for significant and immediate threats to life or property – tsunami national threats, major earthquakes and volcanic eruption. It is another tool for Civil Defence Emergency Management to use alongside media releases, social media and radio bulletins.

Will I get warnings about bad weather or other events?

No. This service is restricted to serious and immediate threats to life or property. You won’t get a flood of texts when it rains. We hope we never have to use the service!

How do I sign up?

Just go to the Bay of Plenty Emergency Management website and click on the “Subscribe to emergency alerts” button on the left. It only takes a few seconds to subscribe!

Will I be notified that I’ve been added to the system?

If you enter an email address, you’ll get confirmation by email. We hope to also have a text to opt-in option eventually. We’ll test the system from time to time to make sure you’re getting the text messages.

Do I need to pay for receiving the texts?

No. The service is free.

Will the texts tell me what I need to do?

The texts are very short just to alert you to an event and direct you to where to find more information on radio bulletins and the Civil Defence website.

Should everyone with a cell phone sign up?

Yes. We aim to have as many people as possible in the Bay of Plenty subscribed to receive these text alerts and know where to go to get more information and take action themselves until a stand-down notification is issued. If your children or elderly relatives have cell phones sign them up to receive the free texts too, and ensure your workmates subscribe.

I don’t live in the Bay of Plenty but I have family or property there. Can I sign up too?

Yes. Even if you don’t live in the Bay you can sign up for a text alert so you can assist relatives who are in the area or keep an eye on your property.

I already signed up to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council text system ages ago. Do I need to sign up to this one too?

Yes. Western Bay of Plenty District Council is moving to the same system so you’ll need to sign up to the new system on our website.

I was subscribed to Readynet. Will my subscription transfer to the new service?

Yes. All subscribers have been moved to the new service.

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