Emergency Mobile Alert
In the event of a tsunami emergency, an Emergency Mobile Alert (EMA) will be triggered. Your phone will receive a message which will tell you what the emergency is and what to do.
The EMA system is used for other emergency events in your area. If your life, health or property is in danger, an EMA can be sent to your mobile without the need to sign up or download an app. You can find out more about the Emergency Mobile Alerts by visiting the National Emergency Management Agency.
Check our tsunami page for information and the natural warnings you might also see at the coast.
Other communication channels
Besides Emergency Mobile Alert, we will also get the messages out through broadcast on radio, television, news media and social media platforms. We encourage people to share official messages with others to make sure the message gets out if needed. However, if you are at the coast and feel an earthquake which is long or strong, or see other natural warning signs, evacuate immediately to higher ground without waiting for an official alert.
Know the natural warning and take action
Remember LONG or STRONG, GET GONE.
If you feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more, see a sudden rise or fall in sea level, hear loud or unusual noises from the sea, don’t wait for an official warning. Go immediately to the nearest high ground or as far inland as you can, taking the route quickest for you.
Update Wed 25 Oct 2023: Be prepared for a tsunami emergency
The majority of Auckland’s tsunami warning sirens will be deactivated from 1 December 2023. The Emergency Mobile Alert will remain the preferred method of notifying the public about dangerous tsunami threats anywhere in the country.
On 5 September, Auckland Council’s Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee agreed to decommission the aging and compromised Meerkat tsunami siren network.
The decommissioning relates to the older siren network, and not the two sirens installed in Ōrewa in 2020, which will remain.
To find out more, please check this OurAuckland news.
Prepare your household emergency plan and practice it so everyone knows what to do in an emergency and what you need to take if you are evacuating.
Check the Auckland hazard viewer map to see if you work, live or play in a tsunami evacuation zone. We are updating the tsunami evacuation maps this year so remember to check back regularly to see if your zone has changed.
Check the tsunami preparedness tips on our website for what to do before, during and after a tsunami.
What are the official warnings for tsunami?
The Emergency Mobile Alert is the preferred method of notifying the public about dangerous tsunami threats anywhere in the country.
In the event of a dangerous tsunami, an Emergency Mobile Alert (EMA) will be triggered. EMA’s are sent by authorised emergency agencies to capable phones from targeted cell towers. The message will tell you what the emergency is and what to do.
Click here for more information.
Tsunami warnings are also published on the National Emergency Management’s website and social media pages. Tsunami warnings will also be broadcast on radio, television and news media, as well as on the Auckland Emergency Management website and social media pages.
What are the natural warning signs for tsunami?
If you are near a shore and experience any of the following, take action. Do not wait for official warnings.
Remember! If an earthquake is LONG or STRONG, GET GONE and move to higher ground.
Update Tues 5th Sep 2023: Meerkat tsunami siren network to be decommissioned
The Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee Committee has voted to decommission the ageing and compromised Meerkat tsunami siren network. The Meerkat system, which includes 42 of the 44 sirens across the Waitakere, Albany and Rodney wards have been the subject of thefts and vandalism for over a year. This decommissioning decision only relates to this older siren network, and not to the two new sirens installed in 2020 in Orewa, which are working as expected and have not experienced any vandalism or thefts.
We expect the decommissioning of the Meerkat siren network to take time and testing and regular maintenance on the network will continue until it is complete. This includes the twice-yearly siren test, next scheduled for the start of daylight savings time on Sun 24th Sep.
We plan to revisit the use of new and emerging technologies for the entire region as part of our Tsunami Work Programme and keep our affected communities updated.
Auckland region tsunami siren testing completed on Sun 24th Sep
Auckland’s tsunami siren test took place at the beginning of daylight saving on Sun 24 September at 12pm(midday). We do this testing to ensure the system is operating as we expect. We would appreciate if you could fill out the tsunami siren testing reporting form to let us know if you heard the sirens during the test and what it sounded like.
Where are the tsunami sirens located in Auckland?
Please note, the tsunami sirens located at some of these locations have been subjected to ongoing vandalism and thefts. The loss of sirens means the audible warnings for a tsunami threat at these locations are not functioning at full capacity – for example, some areas may have fewer operating sirens.
If you observe anyone tampering with sirens, please contact the Police immediately. Additionally, if you notice damaged or missing tsunami sirens, call us on 09 301 0101 or report it via Auckland Council's report a problem tool.
What does siren sound like?
The tsunami sirens are a combination of alert sounds, and voice instructions on what you should do. The voice message is deliberately recorded slowly to compensate for the reverberations and echoes that occur when using large public address systems in a wide-open space.
Tsunami siren pattern & test message:
“Attention Please. This is a test of the Auckland Emergency Management Tsunami Siren Network. The next sound you hear will be the standard emergency warning signal.”
Siren tone (5x “whoops”)
“In the event of a siren activation, follow the instructions that accompany this signal. Thank you.”
In a tsunami emergency, always follow the instructions of the emergency services.
Create an emergency plan for your home and whānau and practice it so everyone knows what to do in an emergency and what you need to take if you are evacuating. If you need help with your plan, check out getready.govt.nz.
If you are asked to evacuate, please do so by moving to high ground or as far inland as you can, preferably without using your car. Practice evacuating with your whānau.
Stay in your safe area and listen to the radio for information. Do not return to your home unless the official ‘All-Clear’ message has been given. A tsunami is a series of waves, and the danger may take several hours to pass.
Only return to your home if it is safe to do so. Remember your home or neighbourhood may have been damaged.