New Zealand Emergency Mobile Alerts System

New Zealand Emergency Mobile Alerts System - What is it and how does it work.

New Zealand Emergency Mobile Alerts System

The next test of the New Zealand Emergency Mobile Alert is coming up very soon on May the 26th 2024 between 6pm and 7pm. Make sure you check it out and ensure it works for you, click on this link here to learn more.



What is the New Zealand Emergency Mobile Alert System?


The Emergency Mobile Alert System is an Emergency Warning system designed and set up to provide those with capable phones with urgent information and emergency alerts about an unfolding emergency or areas affected by serious hazards / disasters in a timely manner. If for any reason your life, health or property is in danger from such an event then Emergency Mobile alerts can be sent to your phone. These are sent out to mobile phones from targeted cell towers, meaning the alerts will be sent to those areas where the risk is present. There is no need to sign into to any special systems, download an app, and this service does not cost anything to you. Assuming your phone is capable of receiving such alerts, your operating system and software is up to date, and you are within the geolocation targeted area of the alerts, then your phone should receive the emergency mobile alerts.

These emergency Mobile alerts are messages about emergencies and are designed to keep people safe. Once a year there is a well advertised test of the Emergency Mobile Alert System, otherwise they are sent out in times of a serious threat to public safety.


Which mobile phones are capable of receiving the Emergency Mobile Alert?

If you want to check if your Mobile Phone is capable of receiving an Emergency Mobile Alert then the best thing to do is follow this link where you can find an updated list of capable mobile phones that currently work with this system. 


What do I do if I receive an Emergency Mobile Alert?

If you do happen to receive an emergency mobile alert, and you haven't heard or seen one before, then it can be quite intimidating, but do not panic. When you receive an alert, read the message and take it seriously. The Emergency Mobile Alert message will always advise you of which authorised emergency agency has sent the alert, what the emergency is, what you should do and, if needed, it will direct you where to go to find out more information.


Who sends these Emergency Mobile Alerts?

The Emergency Mobile Alert System and Emergency Mobile Alerts are only sent out by a specific group of authorised emergency agencies. Once a year there is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert Systems, this will be well advertised. As it stands the only agencies that are currently set up to send out these alerts are;


  • The New Zealand Police
  • Fire and Emergency New Zealand
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry for Primary Industries
  • The National Emergency Management Agency
  • Local Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups


What will the Emergency Mobile Alert Systems be used for?

The Emergency Mobile Alert system will only be used when there is a serious risk posed to life, health or property. That being said there is a need to use the system for test purposes, to ensure that the system works well and will be fit for purpose if and when the time comes that it is needed. In this case, this refers to the annual test of the system, and any nationwide test of emergency mobile alert system will be well advertised in advance. The system will never be used to gather information about you, it uses a geofence type setup and targets all capable mobile phones in the area that are able to receive the alert.


While not an exhaustive list, the Mobile Emergency Alert system may be used to send emergency mobile alert messages in the the following situations;


  • A Tsunami that poses a threat to New Zealand coastlines
  • A forest or wildfire that poses a risk to people or homes
  • An Emergency Police event, such as an active armed offender
  • Environmental emergencies, such as chemical spills or water contamination


What does the Emergency Mobile Alert look and sound like?

We have included this screen shot from a 2017 test carried out by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. As noted it lets the person who received an alert know who it came came from and what the emergency situation type is. If you click on the following link you can check out a YouTube video we took of the alert when it came through to see how it is received on a phone and what it sounds like.




Still want to know more?

Independent survey results show that the system works well, and it has great potential to provide urgent emergency information to people who are in an area where their property or life is in danger. Nationwide tests are carried out on a regular basis, making sure the public are aware of how they sound and what they look like, and helping keep people safe. While social media has a place in Emergency Management and helping alert people, this sort of cell broadcast mobile network Emergency Alert system is a step above.

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