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Do you live in the eastern Bay?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 3:00 p.m.

If you hear a continuous siren sounding 10:15am on Sunday 28 September, remain calm, it’s only a test.

On Sunday 28 September, eastern Bay of Plenty Civil Defence will be testing all the fixed Civil Defence sirens and the mobile alerting systems across the eastern Bay of Plenty.

The fixed Civil Defence sirens are located in Matatā, Coastlands, Whakatāne, Ōhope, Ōhiwa, Waiotahi, Ōpōtiki and Waihau Bay. They will be activated for three minutes at a constant tone (not rising and falling like the fire siren).

The Stinger mobile alerting units (loud speakers mounted on top of vehicles) will drive along key routes in Whakatāne, Kawerau, Ōhope and Ōpōtiki. They will also sound the Civil Defence “Sting” sound followed by a short spoken message. It will also tell people that it is a test and that there is no need for any action.

At the same time, the Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Group will also test the text and email alerting systems. Facebook, Twitter, and websites will also be updated with information during the test.

Eastern Bay of Plenty Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Tetlow reminds locals that the sirens are not an instruction to evacuate, but to seek further information.

“In a real event, the sirens will sound for 10 minutes at a constant tone and the stingers will give brief instructions about what to do.

“The fixed sirens are a pretty blunt instrument – they can’t tell which areas need to evacuate and where to go or give any indication of timeframes and so on. So it is important that people understand that the sirens are a signal to listen to the radio, check messages, or check the internet to get the latest information from Civil Defence on any threat.

“People can tune in to Radio 1XX (90.5/92.9FM or 1246AM) to receive information about any potential threat and we’re fortunate to have a locally-owned and operated radio station in the Eastern Bay, so we’re working closely with them on the day of the test. They know what information to provide to listeners,” Mr Tetlow said.

Mr Tetlow also hoped that the advertising and information available in the lead up to the test will remind people to take the opportunity to get their household prepared and make sure the family has a plan in place. 

“We are required to test the sirens often so that we know everything is working as it should in a real emergency. This is top of mind for us given the false alert issues we had earlier this year.

“We have tied this to national Get Ready week, so there will be plenty of information on the TV, radio, internet, Facebook, posters, activities, school events and plenty more. I can’t encourage people enough to think about how they can prepare for an emergency, make sure they know what they will do, have provisions for at least three days, and have a family plan. There are simple things we can all do now – sign up to text and email alerts at www.bopcivildefence.govt.nz, prepare a ‘go pack’, and talk to the family. Find out more at www.getthru.govt.nz

Siren testing coming soon