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Published: 2010-09-01 00:00:00

Testing of the tsunami warning sirens at Whangamata later this month is part of local and regional preparedness for tsunami, says Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group controller Scott Fowlds.

The three sirens will be set off at noon on Friday 24 September for no more than 30 seconds. The sirens were installed two years ago at water reservoir sites at 312 The Drive and 105B Te Pamahue Drive, and at the Whangamata Fire Station in Port Rd.

Their installation by the Whangamata Emergency Services Group and Thames Coromandel District Council was part of long-term work to improve tsunami preparedness on the Waikato region’s east coast, said Mr Fowlds.

"Given the tsunami alerts we have had in the past year it’s important for the sirens to be tested regularly," said Mr Fowlds.

The siren test comes about a month before the major Civil Defence exercise "Tangaroa" on 20 October which will test New Zealand’s "all of nation" arrangements for handling a major tsunami alert.

"Tangaroa will focus on testing the responsiveness of emergency services and agencies to the threat of a tsunami," said Mr Fowlds. Further information for the public is planned closer to the time.

He stressed that in a real tsunami event people should:

· Stay away from the coast.

· If close to the coast, move quickly to higher ground, or if the surrounding area is flat, as far inland as possible. (In the case of Whangamata or any other local coastal area, make a point to know your local arrangements.)

· Stay tuned to radio for advice and follow it.

· Follow advice from the emergency services or civil defence responders.

· Never go to the shore to watch for a tsunami. Remember, you cannot out run a tsunami, it moves faster than a person can run.