Auckland Council steps up alarming system

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Auckland, February 22, 2017

Auckland Council’s Civil Defense and Emergency Management (CDEM) Group Committee today endorsed a draft Public Alerting Framework that will see enhancements made to the region’s existing emergency alerting systems.

Committee Chair Councillor Sharon Stewart said this is an important next step in preparing the Auckland region to respond in an emergency, and is a multi-pronged approach.

Community engagement

“Building resilience and preparedness is of the utmost importance and any work we do on alerting systems must go hand-in-hand with community engagement and education – there is no point creating an ‘all bells and whistles’ system if our communities don’t understand it or use it,” she said.

The draft Public Alerting Framework defines what public alerting can and cannot do; looks at each of the channels for alerting we have in Auckland; examines the strengths and weaknesses of tsunami sirens and complements initiatives being worked on at a national level.

Larger picture

Auckland CDEM’s Head of Strategy and Planning Craig Glover said that the framework takes a big picture view of public alerting and does not get down to the detailed level of identifying siren locations or digital alerting platforms.

“The framework draws on national and international best practice and provides guidance on the future direction of public alerting in Auckland. Our next step is to speak with each of our local boards about their communities’ needs and how we can partner with local boards to deliver an enhanced and integrated public alerting system,” he said.

The framework also guides the Council’s decision makers, helping them to prioritise budgets and options for enhancing public alerting across Auckland.

National broadcast

“We welcome the work being done at a national level to expedite a cell broadcasting system for New Zealand and will ensure that we both support the government’s efforts and complement it with our own systems locally in Auckland,” says Cr Stewart.

The Council currently has $2.7 million allocated in Long-term Plan budgets for public warning systems. Local board feedback on the draft Public Alerting Framework will be presented back to the May meeting of the Civil Defense and Emergency Management Group Committee. Once the framework has been adopted, planning for the rollout of any new alerting initiatives will be programmed.

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