Civil Defence, Natural hazards  |  26 Sep 2019

Christchurch’s tsunami warning sirens will be tested this Sunday at 11am.

The sirens, which are located along the coastline between Brooklands and Taylors Mistake, will sound for up to three minutes as part of a bi-annual exercise that checks they are operating correctly.

“People should not be alarmed to hear the sirens going off and don’t need to evacuate,’’ says Christchurch City Council Head of Civil Defence and Emergency Management Rob Orchard.

“This is a routine test of the siren warning system, however, it is a good reminder to people in coastal and riverside areas that they should have an evacuation plan  in place so that everyone in the family knows what to do and where to go if there is a tsunami evacuation,’’ Mr Orchard says.

“If you are not sure whether you live or work in a tsunami evacuation zone you should check our online map.

“While we are likely to get advanced warning of a distance-source tsunami triggered by a large earthquake overseas, if a tsunami is triggered by a very large earthquake closer to New Zealand people may need to evacuate in a quickly so they should have an emergency bag at the ready.

“In the event of a local or regional source tsunami, there may not be enough time to activate the warning sirens.

"In those circumstances, the most important warning is the earthquake itself, which is why we encourage people to adhere to the national tsunami message – ‘Long or strong, get gone’,’’ Mr Orchard says.