Civil Defence  |  25 Sep 2020

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

The sirens, located along the coastline between Brooklands and Taylors Mistake, will sound for up to three minutes as part of routine testing to check they are working correctly.

Usually the sirens are tested each year at the beginning and end of daylight saving time, but this year the scheduled test in April did not go ahead because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“It was a stressful time for many and we didn’t want to cause any anxiety or confusion by testing the sirens during the Level 4 lockdown. However, we are now at a lower alert level so we are going to proceed with this weekend’s scheduled test,’’ says Christchurch City Council Head of Civil Defence and Emergency Management Rob Orchard.

“People should not be alarmed to hear the sirens going off and don’t need to evacuate. The testing of the sirens though 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.

“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 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.

People can check Christchurch City Council's interactive online map to find out if by they live or work in a tsunami evacuation zone. There are also evacuation tips on the Council website.