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Tsunami: do you know when to go?

Emergency Management Bay of Plenty wants to remind residents visiting or residing in coastal areas of the warning signs for a potential tsunami.

If you experience any one of the following triggers:

• FEEL a long or strong earthquake,
• HEAR a loud roar coming from the ocean,
• SEE the ocean suddenly rise or fall, o
• RECEIVE an alert.

Then you should self-evacuate immediately.

Director of Emergency Management Bay of Plenty Clinton Naude urged everyone in the community to understand all of the warning signs.

“An earthquake in the Kermadec Trench could generate a tsunami that could reach the Bay of Plenty in less than an hour but it can take up to 40 minutes to issue an official warning so it is vital we know all of the warning signs.

“For a more distant tsunami, there would be time to send an official warning so it is also important to understand how you can be alerted,” Mr Naude said.

Previous focus had been solely on the ‘long or strong, get gone’ message but emergency managers in the Bay of Plenty urged people to understand all of the warning signs.

Mr Naude said tsunamis can be generated by underwater landslides or volcanic eruptions; however, the largest tsunamis are usually caused by large underwater earthquakes.

“Every tsunami is different, which is why people need to be aware of all the ways they may be warned.

"A long or strong earthquake is still the best natural warning sign that people should respond to, however, some tsunami can be generated where we may not experience long or strong shaking.

"This is why we need them to be aware of the full range of ways they may be warned and understand that any one of them is a trigger for them to take action immediately," he said.

Eye witness accounts of a tsunami in Japan, Indonesia and Samoa reported that prior to the tsunami arriving there was a sudden rise or fall in sea level prior to the first wave arriving. There were also consistent reports of loud noises, similar to the roaring of a jet plane, coming from the ocean.

One of the national alerting tools, the Emergency Mobile Alert, will be tested later in the year. This is a great opportunity for people to discuss with friends and whānau what they would do in the event of a tsunami and practice their evacuation route.

For more information about alerting go to www.bopcivildefence.govt.nz/be-warned

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