Tsunami Sirens for 15kms of coastline.

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Tauranga City Council will install sirens with voice-over capability along the coastline from near Mount Maunganui Primary School to Papamoa East; covering approximately 15km with 10 to 12 sirens

The communities along this stretch of coastline are those in the highest flood (inundation) risk zone from a tsunami compared with other coastal areas of Tauranga. The project will be rolled out in two stages.

For stage one, Council approved the installation of six to eight voice-over sirens along the Omanu – Papamoa coast down to Wairakei, which is approximately a 12km stretch of coast.  This strip has the widest tsunami inundation areas, the furthest to travel to safe areas, and contains the largest population.

Stage two will add sirens along the 3km from Mount Maunganui Primary School to Omanu. A request to confirm capital funding for this will go to the next Finance and Risk Committee meeting. This area has a large daytime population including schools.  

Planning for the final location of each siren is already underway and their installation will be completed before the end of 2021.

Councillor Steve Morris says we will talk to the community about the location of each of the sirens.

Sirens with voice-over capability are more effective than those with alerting tones only as voice messages are able to help drive actions and reduce confusion.

“Tsunami sirens are one of many ways we can alert our community,” says Cr. Morris.

“There are already national mobile altering systems, which are regularly tested and promoted, localised mapsthat highlight evacuation routes and safe zones, the Red Cross hazard app and national “Get Ready, Get Thru” education campaigns.

“The main message in all the education campaigns is to not only depend on an official alert. If you feel a strong earthquake, get gone - If its long or strong, get gone.”

Once the sirens are in place, Council will launch a community campaign, including testing, so that everyone knows what to expect and what to do when they hear the sirens.

Further work needs to be done to understand whether additional siren sites are required for the remaining tsunami hazard areas in Tauranga, including Mount North, Matua and Welcome Bay. This assessment would allow for further budget consideration in Council’s next Long-term Plan.

“We will be talking to our community through the next Long Term Plan budget process to ensure any further investment in sirens meets their needs,” says Cr. Morris.