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Lessons from test of email and text alert systems

Lessons from test of email and text alert systems

30 September 2014

The regional test of the email and text message alerting system on the weekend went well but there were a number of lessons learnt from the test which will be worked on in the coming weeks.

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence operates a free subscription-based, text message and email alerting system to let subscribers know if there is a significant emergency in the region and what to do.

During the test on the weekend, most people received their messages at around 10:15am as planned, however some people did not receive them until much later.

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Team Leader, Angela Reade said that the focus was now on rectifying these issues.

“Overall, we were happy with the test and most people seem to have received their text and email messages as planned. We are also really pleased with the buy-in from the community and the number of people who signed up to receive these alerts. This is a good sign that people are thinking carefully about their preparedness for an emergency and taking all the steps they can.

“However, we did have a number of issues including some people not receiving messages until many hours later and some people not receiving them at all. There are a number of possible reasons for this and we are working closely with the system provider and other relevant groups to get to the root of the problem to resolve it. This is a priority for our group at the moment,” Ms Reade said. “This is why we test our systems to ensure that things run smoothly on the day”.

Residents are encouraged to sign up to the service and to follow Civil Defence on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with the latest Civil Defence information.

“The system is robust and the nature of a test like the one on Sunday is to ensure that we can improve it constantly. So feedback is important – if you received the messages or if you didn’t, we would like to hear from you on our website (www.bopcivildefence.govt.nz). Feedback will help us get a better handle on where and what time the issues were for some subscribers.

“A final thanks to all those who got involved with Get Ready week and took the opportunity to make sure their family and friends were prepared should a real disaster strike. We are all working towards a more resilient Bay of Plenty community,” Ms Reade said.

Ends

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