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Source: National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will be conducting its annual nationwide test of the Emergency Mobile Alert (EMA) between 6pm and 7pm this Sunday evening.

The nationwide test is a way to check that the EMA system, the cell towers and your phone’s ability to receive an Emergency Mobile Alert, to make sure that it will perform as it should in an emergency.

It is expected the test will trigger alerts on over 5 million phones across Aotearoa New Zealand, reaching nine in ten people.

NEMA has developed a resource for media, “EMA explained”, to provide further information about how EMA works and to answer some common questions.

Emergency Mobile Alert is an information channel for alerting people to threats to their life, health or property. In an emergency, an alert can be sent to targeted areas affected by serious hazards.

If you get an alert, stop, read the message, and take it seriously. It will tell you what the emergency is and what to do. It will also tell you which agency sent the message and if needed, where to go for more information.

Emergency Mobile Alerts are not meant to replace other ways of staying informed, such as media and online channels, or the need to take action after natural warnings. If you feel your life is in danger, don’t wait for an office warning. Take immediate action.

For example, a local source tsunami could arrive in minutes, and there won’t be time for an official warning. It is important to recognise the natural warning signs and act quickly.

If you are near the coast and feel a LONG or STRONG earthquake, GET GONE. An earthquake that lasts more than a minute OR makes it hard to stand up is a natural tsunami warning. Drop, Cover and Hold during the shaking. And as soon as the shaking stops, move immediately to the nearest high ground or as far inland as you can.

For more information on Emergency Mobile Alert, visit

What you need to know:

No need to subscribe. You don’t need to sign up or download an app.  Just make sure your phone is on and capable of receiving an alert, and your operating system is up to date. You can find out whether your phone can receive the alerts at:

Works by geo-targeting. Emergency Mobile Alerts can also be targeted to affected areas, so you will only get them if the emergency is in your area. Sunday’s test alert will be sent to all areas in New Zealand with mobile coverage.
You can’t opt out. As Emergency Mobile Alert is about keeping you safe, you won’t be able to opt-out. Your phone may show optional settings used in other countries, but in New Zealand we use a special broadcast channel that is permanently on.
Who can send an alert? Emergency Mobile Alert messages can only be sent by the National Emergency Management Agency, Local Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups, NZ Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Ministry of Health and Ministry for Primary Industries. Alerts will only be sent when there are serious threats to life, health and property, and, like this month, for test purposes.
Don’t ditch the radio. Emergency Mobile Alert is an additional channel to help keep people in New Zealand safe and does not replace other alerting channels such as radio, television, websites and social media, or the need to take action after natural warnings. If you feel your life may be in danger, don’t wait for an official warning. Take immediate action. Remember – Long or strong, get gone.
What if I’m driving? If you are driving when you receive an alert, wait until it is safe to stop and then check the message.
Make a plan. Take the time to make your own emergency plan which includes what to do, where to go, who can help you and who might need your help. You can make a plan online at

Find out more about Emergency Mobile Alert, visit