Be prepared for national mobile alert test

The Emergency Mobile Alert is sent to all phones via the cell companies' towers and will be tested today, Sunday, May 26, between 6-7pm. Photo; File..

An Emergency Mobile Alert test is scheduled for today, Sunday, May 26, between 6pm and 7pm.

Emergency Mobile Alerts are messages about emergencies to help keep people safe. They are sent by authorised emergency agencies to mobile phones, and this system is being tested tonight.

"We ask that you let friends and whanau know about the test, and if anyone is not in a great place emotionally right now, know that you won't recieve the message if your phone is turned off or in flight mode,' says a BOP Civil Defence Emergency Management spokesperson.

"The test is important because the EMA is like having a siren in your pocket for when we need to grab your attention for an important update."

EMAs are broadcast to all capable phones from targeted cell towers to areas affected by serious hazards.

"You may not receive an alert if you are out of mobile coverage, mobile phone towers are damaged, or there is a power outage," says the spokesperson.

"Our 2022 emergency preparedness survey showed that over 88 per cent of people in New Zealand received the test or were with someone who did."

In an emergency, if you receive an alert make sure you let the people around you know. 

Emergency Mobile Alert is an extra channel to help keep you safe in an emergency. It does not replace other alerting systems or the need to take action after natural warnings.

You should still be prepared for an emergency, and you shouldn’t wait to get an alert before you act. If you feel your life is in danger, don’t wait for an official warning. Take immediate action.

Facts and information about the EMA test:

Will every phone get the alert?

No. Some older phones won't get it, but as time passes, and people get new phones, more and more people will get the alert. Last year something like 90 per cent of phones in current use could get the alert.
How do I opt out?
You can't opt out because it's not a message sent to 'your' phone: It's an alert sent to all phones via the cell companies' towers. You won't get the alert if your phone is turned off or if you have no cell or internet connection.
Do you have my phone number?
No.There's no database or list of numbers the alert gets sent to. it's a blanket alert that goes to all phones in the cell site coverage area.
How come my phone and someone else's get the alert at slightly different times?
Probably because you have different service providers and your phones are in different cell site coverage areas.
Will the alert work if I turn off my phone?
No - if your phone is not connected or it's turned off you won't get the alert
Why do you need to test it?
We need to see how well the system is working and how many people recieve it- many homes have more than one cell phone, so even if one member of the whanau doesn't get the alert, chances are other members of the household will.
Is this the same as a text alert?
No- It's different technology. Text alerts need to have a database of numbers to send the message to, you can opt out of text alerts, and they can be slow, due to overloading.
The EMA is sent from emergency services (Civil defence, police etc) via cell towers to all phones in the target area. In this case, it's a national test, so it's all phones in New Zealand.
Why does my phone say 'presidential alert' or some other weird thing when i get an alert?
Probably because you bought your phone overseas or by paralell import- other countries have an EMA system but it has different names in other places.
Will I get the alert if my phone is in silent mode?
Probably. Some phone manufacturers do not let emergency alerts override silent mode, but many do.
The alert is no use to me because I sleep with my phone off
Some people do this because they don't want to be disturbed by buzzing and pings during the night. But if there was a major emergency, you would want to know about it, so we don't recommend turing off your phone at night- the alert is loud enough that it doesn't need to be right at your bedside to wake you, so our advice would be to leave it turned on but further away. Check if your phone lets you get emergency alerts on silent mode (many do).




I will definitely

Posted on 26-05-2024 15:02 | By Mein Fuhrer

Be leaving my phone OFF


Posted on 26-05-2024 18:10 | By joan king

Why does everyone assume that 100% of New Zealanders have mobile internet connected phones. I certainly dont have one and I know many people who dont have them, admittedly they are mostly older people because on a pension you struggle to pay your bills and eat let alone purchase a smart phone which we all know are not cheap. If there was a disaster and this was the only way to let people know then I suppose we have to just accept that. Many oldies couldnt walk out anyway so you have to accept that you probably wouldnt survive. Technology at its best it seems.

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