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Sign up to emergency alerts on your mobile

27 July 2010

Sign up to emergency alerts on your mobile
The Wellington Emergency Management Office (WEMO) has a new text alert system which can help warn people about a major emergency like an approaching tsunami.
The Twitter-based service is free, however signing up will cost four texts at the standard rate.
Wellington City Council’s Emergency Preparedness Manager, Fred Mecoy, says signing up to receive the alerts is easy to do and it could ultimately save lives.
“The ability to deliver timely warnings and alerts through mobile phones will help ensure Wellingtonians have the information they need to protect themselves and their families prior to disasters and emergencies.
“We will send three to four test messages a year to ensure the service is working and any other message will be a genuine alert."
Fred says if you already have a Twitter account, signing up for WEMO text alerts is easy. 
“Just follow @wemonz and allow tweets from WEMO to be sent to your mobile. If you are not a Twitterer all you have to do is text the word ‘start’ to 8987, wait for a reply and then text ‘signup’, text a unique username, then text ‘follow WemoNZ’.”
Fred is also encouraging users to then forward the alert on to their networks.
“The use of social networking media such as Twitter means emergency notification will be able to ‘go viral’.
“However we also realise the fragility of the cellphone network and, in particular, the possibility that it may become overloaded, which is why the emergency text alert system will be just one tool of many that WEMO will use to raise the alarm.”
For more information on text alerts, phone 460 0650, email wemo@wcc.govt.nz or visit Wellington.govt.nz
Sign up for text alerts – it’s easy!*
(If you already receive ‘Tweets’ to your mobile phone, go to step 5)
Text the word ‘start’ to 8987 (wait for a reply after each text sent)
Reply with the word ‘signup’
Think of a unique username.  (You won’t need to remember it again, so you could use your name followed by some random characters, eg ‘Kelly495hgim’)
Reply with your chosen username (if you are already on Twitter, use your existing username, and it will ask you for your password)
Send/reply the words ‘follow wemonz’ to 8987.
*Please note it does not currently work on the 2 Degrees network.

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