Mt Ruapehu: Emergency training exercise for 'major volcanic eruption'

If you hear the Mt Ruapehu eruption alarm go off next week, there's no need to panic.

Ruapehu Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) is holding a multi-agency training exercise on Wednesday 15 May based on a "major volcanic eruption" on Mt Ruapehu.

Ruapehu CDEM officer Nick Watson says it's an important training exercise to prepare for a real eruption.

"With the coming ski season and visitor numbers to Ruapehu expected to surge with the opening of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts' new Whakapapa gondola on top of the strong visitor growth of recent years this exercise is very timely," he says.

"Training exercises of this magnitude are an incredibly important part of our civil defence preparedness designed to test and enhance our people, systems and procedures and ensure their readiness and capacity to respond to a real life event."

The exercise will be led by the Ruapehu District Council and will include emergency response agencies, the Defence Force, GNS Science and Civil Defence personal.

Watson says it will be made as realistic as possible through the activation of the eruption alarm, which will be heard by people around Whakapapa.

"There is no need for the public to be concerned if they see a high level of activity by emergency responders on the day (Wed 15 May)," he says.

"We would like to thank people in advance for their cooperation during the exercise."

Fortunately, Watson says it's unlikely the real alarm will need to be activated any time soon.

"The most recent volcano alert bulletin confirmed Te Wai ā-moe (Crater Lake) temperature was cooling so we want to be clear that there is no increased volcanic activity prompting the exercise," he says.

Watson adds that normal emergency services won't be impacted by the exercise. Anyone needing these services shouldn't hesitate to contact these organisations if needed.