SkyCity convention centre fire: Civil Defence defends emergency alert reception rate

Civil Defence estimates 50 per cent of New Zealanders receive emergency notifications.
Civil Defence estimates 50 per cent of New Zealanders receive emergency notifications. Photo credit: Getty Images

Civil Defence is defending their emergency alert reception rate after reports some Aucklanders didn’t receive last night’s notification about smoke inhalation from the SkyCity convention centre fire.

A Civil Defence spokeswoman said the catchment area was limited to the CBD and they currently expect 50 per cent of New Zealanders to receive the notification.

"We’ve heard reports [of people not receiving notifications]. What we suspect it’s likely to be is either they weren’t in that area ... or they don’t have a phone that’s actually capable of receiving the alerts.

"Anyone outside of that area wouldn’t receive it unless they moved into that area for the duration the alert was going. It really was just the CBD," she said

The spokeswoman said it was too early to know how successful the alert was, but they know it went to all cell towers.

The Civil Defence website says if you get an alert, read the message and take it seriously because it will tell you what has happened and what to do.

If you’re unsure whether your phone is set up for receiving Emergency Alerts, you can follow the steps below.

On iPhone

Open settings, select notifications, scroll to the bottom of the page and turn the toggle on.

On Samsung

Open messages, select the three dots in the top-right corner and click settings. Select emergency alert settings and then click emergency alerts to select which alerts you’d like to receive. Also in emergency alert settings, select alert reminder - you can choose how often you’d like to be notified.

You can test this feature by selecting emergency alert settings and clicking emergency notification preview.

On other Android Phones

The Emergency Alert settings depend on the manufacturer and model, but they can generally be found through one of the following ways.

  • Open Settings, select Sounds and select Advanced. There should be an option for Emergency Broadcasts.
  • Open Settings, select Wireless & Networks and select More. There should be an option for Cell Broadcasts.
  • Open Settings and select General Settings. There should be an option for Emergency Alerts.
  • Open the text message app and select Message Settings. There should be an option for Emergency Alert Settings.

Your alert settings may be called a number of different names, including Emergency Alerts, Emergency Broadcasts, Extreme Threats or Severe Threats.

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