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Hutt’s disaster warning in for test and repair

Oct 5th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

siren MAIN

HIDDEN TREASURE? Siren secured on a Lower Hutt pole should prove its worth in an emergency.

TSUNAMI sirens will soon become a familiar sound to Hutt Valley locals as city council workers begin a $6000 equipment upgrade.

Tests on the 17 existing sirens, part of the Hutt Valley Emergency Management tsunami evacuation plan, will begin with two-minute “blip tests” in the next two weeks.

The idea is to ensure all sirens are working before real testing begins, says Hutt City Council emergency management adviser Peter Walker (below right).

peter walkerSirens already in place around some primary schools and Petone’s Weltec campus will be modified by making them louder, before looking at replacing them if necessary.

Short bursts of sound of up to a few minutes will occur in a practice drill, but sirens wail continuously in a real emergency, says Mr Walker.

Residents will be alerted when it is real through radio and television.

The Ministry of Civil Defence provides funding for some of Hutt City Council’s projects but the majority of the council’s $1 million emergency management budget in 2010/11 annual plan comes from rates.

The $6000, covered by the ministry, pays for siren maintenance over a long-term period with annual testing, Mr Walker says.

Electricians and other staff from Hutt City Council will be carrying out the testing and modifying, with several workers allocated to different areas of the Hutt.

Areas that currently have no sirens are Stokes Valley, Eastbourne and the bottom end of Petone. Possible new locations will be identified in the testing.

“The sirens are just another part of the plan, alerting people that something is happening,” says Mr Walker.

Other warning systems that will be used are social networking sites and advertising.

“Residents will want to know what is going on, so we have to make sure they are ready.

“We have had a good reaction from the public so far about the tsunami plan. People like to know they are living in a community that is well prepared.”

Residents will also need directions to higher ground in the event of a tsunami. The council is still working on which routes will be advised.

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