NZ’s first public alert system with mobile apps to warn Aucklanders of natural disasters and emergencies

  • Tuesday, 18 September 2012 10:00
  • Written by  BlinkMobile

Auckland Civil Defence, a division of Auckland Council is today launching a new public alert system for the entire region to better prepare for natural disasters, which includes targeting the estimated half million Aucklanders using smartphones.

Aucklanders can now download the free ‘Auckland Civil Defence’ application on any smartphone handset, including iPhone, Android and Windows devices. After registering their contact details within the app, Aucklanders will receive advance notification of impending disasters such as tsunamis and cyclones, as well as important advisories from civil defence authorities following major catastrophes such as earthquakes.

In addition, by synchronising with the Auckland Civil Defence website in real time, the Auckland Civil Defence app will now allow thousands of Aucklanders to stay updated with accurate and timely information on vital information in their area such as road closures, floods, slips, and severe wind warnings.

Auckland Councillor Michael Goudie, Chair of the Auckland Civil Defence Committee, says the new public alert system is a huge leap forward for the region.

“With so many Aucklanders using smartphone devices, it made sense that any new warning system needed to embrace new technology. And with an estimated half the population active on Facebook, we’re also encouraging Aucklanders to take responsibility in times of emergency, and let their friends and family know via social media channels what’s going on that may impact on them.

“In fact, we have made a start ourselves with social media by allowing people to share their updates and encourage registration for the Auckland Civil Defence iPhone app on Facebook and Twitter,” he says.

Auckland Civil Defence Controller Clive Manley says there have been many lessons for Auckland from both the Christchurch earthquakes and the Japan tsunami. “Radio and television will continue to play a vital role in disseminating public alerts, but now we have added the hugely significant channel of personalised and immediate alerts to all those Aucklanders with smartphones.

“We strongly encourage Aucklanders to download the new app and become better prepared and informed of what to do in times of disaster.”

Nikki Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, welcomes the new Auckland Civil Defence public alert system, ahead of the New Zealand ShakeOut earthquake drill on 26 September.

“Auckland has experienced recent events such as tornadoes and floods, while other parts of the country have witnessed earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Auckland's new civil defence public alert system will ensure Aucklanders are better prepared in an emergency.

“The launch of this new alert system further underlines the importance of civil defence planning, which is why we urge all New Zealanders to take part in New Zealand ShakeOut next week, the first ShakeOut drill held nationwide in any country in the world,” she says.

How to download the Auckland Civil Defence smartphone application
The Auckland Civil Defence application for smartphones can be downloaded from a variety of sources depending on the operating system of your handset.

By searching for 'Auckland Civil Defence', iPhone users can download it from the Apple AppStore, while Android handset users can download it from the Google Play Android app store.

If you have another smart phone device you can open this in a mobile web browser and save it to your home screen. To do this, open a new window in your device browser and type in the URL as it is shown (no www or http is required): “Blinkm.co/acdnz”. Once the mobile web launches, you can save the Mobile Web App to your home screen as you normally would.

To get alerts and more information on the new public alert system, please go to www.aucklandcivildefence.org.nz

How to take part in the New Zealand ShakeOut earthquake drill
For more information or to register for the nationwide New Zealand ShakeOut earthquake drill at 9.26am on Wednesday 26 September 2012, please go to www.getthru.govt.nz

How to subscribe to the Auckland Civil Defence public alert SMS Service
Text “high” to “5455” to receive high severity emergency SMS alerts only; text “medium” to “5455” to receive medium and high severity SMS emergency alerts; Text “all” to “5455” to receive all emergency SMS alerts.