Information on Emergency Mobile Alerts

What are Emergency Mobile Alerts?

Emergency Mobile Alerts are messages sent to your phone by authorised emergency agencies such as the New Zealand Police, the Ministry of Civil Defence (National Emergency Management Agency), or the Ministry of Health.

The alerts are designed to keep people safe from hazardous situations and you’ll probably hear the sound of an emergency alert before you notice the pop-up message on your phone’s screen.

Don’t fret, you won’t get a message every time something happens in New Zealand; the messages are geographically targeted so only mobile phones that are powered on and are within the affected area are alerted.

You don’t have to download an app or subscribe to a service, just ensure your phone is updated to the latest operating system and is capable of receiving alerts.

Most recent models of phones can receive the alerts, if you don’t get an alert notification when everyone else around you has, read more here.

Emergency Mobile Alerts don’t replace other emergency alerts. If you feel your life’s in danger, don’t wait for an official warning. Take immediate action. It’s always a good idea to have an emergency plan that includes what to do, where to go, who to go to for help and who you might need to look out for. Visit the Get Ready website for more ways to be prepared for an emergency.

How do Emergency Mobile Alerts work?

Emergency Mobile Alerts (EMA) use a dedicated signal, which means the service isn’t impacted if the network is overloaded in an emergency.

The alert will be sent to areas affected by serious hazards for a set amount of time, no matter what network you’re on. Anyone who enters this area with a compatible phone throughout that time will also get the alert even if they weren’t there at the start.

Can my phone get Emergency Mobile Alerts?

Most recent 2degrees mobiles are EMA enabled.

Use the guidelines below to check if your phone is set up to receive emergency alerts, or visit the Get Ready website for a list of phones capable of receiving the emergency alerts. If your phone is on the list, ensure your phone is updated to the latest available operating system.

Check for emergency alerts on iPhone: open Settings, select Notifications, and at the bottom of the menu there should be a toggle for Emergency Alerts.

If you have an Android phone, there is no one place within the Settings menu where the emergency alert notifications sit. If you have a Samsung phone, you’ll find the instructions on the Samsung New Zealand website. If you have another make of Android phone, you may need to search the Settings menu for one of these options: Emergency Alerts, Emergency Broadcasts, Extreme Threats or Severe Threats.

Other things to know about Emergency Mobile Alerts

  • You can’t reply to Emergency Mobile Alert messages. If you need emergency services, please call 111 immediately.
  • The EMA service is all about keeping you safe, which means you can’t opt-out of receiving them, and your phone will alert you even if it’s on mute or silent mode
  • This is a free service, so won’t cost you anything to receive these messages
  • If you are using WiFi Calling in an area without 2degrees mobile coverage, you will not receive any NZ Civil Defence emergency mobile alerts. If you are using WiFi Calling and your phone also has mobile coverage, you will receive these alerts as usual. Read more about WiFi Calling here.
  • Emergency Mobile Alert does not use your mobile phone number or collect information about you.
  • A necessary part of making sure the system works well is running regular nationwide tests on the system. Media and public campaigns will advise you of any scheduled EMA broadcast tests.
  • To find out more about Emergency Mobile Alerts visit the Civil Defence website.
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