Sirens set to blare at beaches

Northern Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - KIM NUTBROWN

If you hear a siren on Mon­day, don’t be alarmed.

The Waimakariri District Coun­cil Civil De­fence team will be test­ing the emer­gency sirens at Wood­end, Waikuku and Pines/ Kairaki beaches at 1pm on Mon­day, a plan that has been in the works for months.

Civil de­fence emer­gency man­age­ment ad­vi­sor, Bren­nan Wiremu, said the test is purely func­tional.

‘‘We are test­ing to make sure the siren works and to make sure the pre-recorded voice mes­sage works. This par­tic­u­lar test is not around com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion.’’

Wiremu said civil de­fence plans to run two func­tion tests a year co­in­cid­ing with day­light sav­ings. He said the test is be­ing car­ried out on Mon­day as there will be fewer peo­ple at home so dis­tur­bances will be at a min­i­mum.

Wiremu said the sirens are unique to Waimakariri District Coun­cil in New Zealand. They have an ini­tial alarm and then a choice of 6 pre recorded mes­sages will play warn­ing of ei­ther a test, tsunami, flood, fire, evac­u­ate now and safe to come home. He said there is also the op­tion of a live voice an­nounce­ment.

The sirens can be ac­ti­vated in a num­ber of ways, ei­ther at the con­trol desk lo­cated at coun­cil, by one of three smart phones Wiremu and two other staff mem­bers pos­sess, or on the ac­tual siren.

They can also be trig­gered by a two-way ra­dio in the event of no cell phone coverage.

The con­trol sys­tem has been pro­grammed by Wiremu to print out weekly re­ports on each of the three sirens. He said in ad­di­tion to this the sys­tem will gen­er­ate a re­port if there is a fault or is­sue with any of the sirens.

The re­port will give de­tails on the sta­tus of each de­vice in­clud­ing if and when it was ac­ti­vated, bat­tery life and in­for­ma­tion on am­pli­fiers.

Wiremu said the bat­ter­ies in the sirens are sim­i­lar to that of car bat­ter­ies and are con­nected to the street lights and charge dur­ing the night.

The sys­tem, although in­ten­sive, is ac­tu­ally quite sim­ple to use and, ac­cord­ing to Wiremu, is fool proof. He said a sys­tem of this type costs around $150,000 and it is one we are lucky to have in the district.

‘‘It was great the elected mem­bers saw the im­por­tance in hav­ing a sys­tem like this, but also it was in re­sponse to what the public was ask­ing for.’’

KIM NUTBROWN/STUFF

Civil de­fence emer­gency man­age­ment ad­vi­sor, Bren­nan Wiremu at the tsunami siren con­trol desk.

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