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This is a test of the emergency management system

Paul Brislen, Editor. 04 October 2017, 8:02 am

New Zealand woke up last week a nation divided into those that received the 1.30am Civil Defence emergency alert and those who did not.

Civil Defence has apologised after test messages were mistakenly sent to thousands of New Zealanders in the dead of night, waking some and causing no small amount of mirth on social media this morning.

Those who received the test messages, part of Civil Defence's planned smartphone alerting system which is due to go live at the end of the year, appear to be a disparate group of recipients chosen either for their ability to lead the nation through times of difficulty or perhaps a random selection based on phone numbers pulled together by an overworked tech.

Either way, this reporter is pleased to … report that he will be among the Chosen and will be able to communicate important key messages to those who survive any major event.

Of course, this reporter also keeps his phone far away from his bed because of long experience receiving emergency TXT alerts and so will probably sleep through the whole thing.

Civil Defence has been tasked with building a more effective communication network following the mass adoption of smartphones. In bygone days, emergency alerts would typically be sent over the radio or involve police cars driving slowly along the street with a PA announcement blasting out. The test was mistakenly sent by a team working on European time, once again demonstrating the importance of local development, if only for our sleep patterns.

And while we're all in a civil defence kind of mood, it's worth revisiting your own preparedness for any event. Civil Defence has a handy website complete with a checklist of items any well-organised Kiwi will need to survive until help arrives. Oddly, the checklist does not include smartphone or battery pack.


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