New Emergency Mobile Alert system


14 November 2017

A new nationwide Emergency Mobile Alert system, which sends alerts to mobile phones around New Zealand, is being led by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM).

The alerts will be sent out if life, health or property is in serious danger.

Emergency Mobile Alert messages can only be sent by MCDEM, Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups, NZ Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

A nationwide test of Emergency Mobile Alert is happening on 26 November 2017, between 6.00pm and 7.00pm. 

Whanganui District Emergency Management Officer Anthony Edwards says people don’t need to sign up or download an app, as the alerts are sent using cell broadcast technology.

“If your phone is capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts, the alert should appear automatically on your phone’s screen with a unique and penetrating warning sound. As Emergency Mobile Alert is about keeping you safe, you won’t be able to opt-out of receiving Emergency Mobile Alert.


“It is expected around one third of phones will initially be able to receive the alerts. This number is expected to rise substantially over time as people replace their phones with newer models.”

Mr Edwards says because the Whanganui District is at risk from several emergency event scenarios such as floods, extreme weather, earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions, the Emergency Mobile Alert is another way people can be effectively warned and quickly find out what to do when there is an emergency.

“We still encourage people to have a battery or solar powered radio and to keep tabs on the Whanganui District Council and Manawatu-Wanganui Civil Defence Facebook page during an emergency, but we are pleased the Emergency Mobile Alert is another way for our community to be informed and get the information they need.”

Minister of Civil Defence, Kris Faafoi, says Emergency Mobile Alert is an additional channel to help keep New Zealand safe in an emergency.

“Emergency Mobile Alert is an additional channel to help keep people safe in an emergency.  It does not replace other emergency alerts. If you feel your life is in danger, don’t wait for an official warning. Take immediate action.”

The nationwide test is a way to test our systems, the cell towers and your phone’s ability to receive an Emergency Mobile Alert.

“Not all phones are capable of receiving the alerts, so if you receive an emergency alert, let others know. You can check whether your phone will receive the alert and find out more at”

During an emergency, Brian FM stations broadcast directly from the Whanganui District Civil Defence headquarters.

Brian FM is on 91.2 Whanganui, 93.2 Taihape and 90.2 Mt Ruapehu, Plus Reel World Radio on 92.0 Whanganui. 

The following radio stations will also have regular updates:

  • The Hits 89.6FM

  • More FM 92.8FM

  • RadioLIVE 96FM

  • Awa FM 100FM

Make sure you bookmark the Whanganui District Council and Civil Defence Manawatu-Wanganui Facebook pages so you know what to do in an emergency.

FAQs about the Emergency Mobile Alert

Page reviewed: 14 Nov 2017 12:00am