Emergency Alerts

26 July 2010

Did you know you can now receive emergency alerts on your mobile phone?

Sign up now to receive emergency alerts

Sign up now to receive emergency alerts

The Wellington Emergency Management Office (WEMO), run by the Council, has a new text alert system which can help warn you about a major emergency like an approaching tsunami.

The Council's Emergency Preparedness Manager, Fred Mecoy, says signing up to receive the alerts is easy to do and it could ultimately save lives.

"The ability to deliver timely warnings and alerts through mobile phones is an important step to help ensure Wellingtonians have the information they need to protect themselves and their families prior to, and during, disasters and emergencies.

"The Twitter-based service is free, but signing up costs four texts at the standard rate. We will send you three to four test messages a year and any other message will be a genuine alert - no spam!"

All you have to do is text the word 'start' to 8987, wait for a reply and then text 'signup', text a unique username, then text 'follow WemoNZ'. See step-by-step instructions below.

Fred also encourages users to then forward the alert on to their networks. The emergency text alert system will be just one tool of many WEMO will use to raise the alarm.

As well as the new text alert system, Fred and his staff have started a concerted campaign to recruit and train large numbers of new civil defence volunteers. The last few months have seen 60 new volunteers trained through WEMO's seven-week induction course for civil defence emergency management volunteers. The course was developed with help from the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, with the next course planned for mid-September.

Fred invites anyone with an interest in their community's emergency preparedness to get in touch to find out more.

"In a major emergency, volunteers would principally be involved in running the civil defence centres around the city and would provide vital information about what has happened in their neighbourhood.

"Volunteers will be crucial to ensuring a successful response in a large-scale emergency."

For more information on text alerts, or to sign up to be a volunteer phone (04) 460 0650, email wemo@wcc.govt.nz or go to the Emergency Management section of this website.

Sign Up for Text Alerts - It's Easy!*

(If you already receive Tweets to your mobile phone, go to step 5)

1. Text the word 'start' to 8987 (wait for a reply after each text sent)

2. Reply with the word 'signup'

3. Think of a unique username (you won't need to remember it again, so you could use your name followed by some random characters, eg 'Kelly495hgim')

4. Reply with your chosen username

(if you are already on Twitter, use your existing username, and it will ask you for your password)

5. Send/reply the words 'follow wemonz' to 8987.

That's it - you're now on the alert list!

*Please note it does not currently work on the 2degrees network.