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News 1 ­ Optn New Zealand

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Northland Council Civil Defence

OPTn has offered in the interim to preserve the current database of Northland Civil Defence registered numbers (free of charge to the council and registered mobiles) as a fallback in case of an delivery problems with the new service provider.

Auckland Council Civil Defence

Auckland Council Civil Defence will no longer use OPTN as a text messaging service in an emergency from Friday 07 August 2015.
An alternative text alerting system is available. To sign up click here
Other public alerting options are also available including smartphone apps for both iPhone and Android users and email notifications.
If you want further information you can contact the Auckland Council call centre at (09) 3010101, or email us at CivilDefence.Info@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

OPTn has agreed to preserve the current database of Civil Defence registered numbers (free of charge to the council and registered mobiles) as a fall back in case of delivery problems with the new service provider.

Telecom fault with delivery of SMS issue

The Telecom delivery issue has been resolved 22nd March 2013

Registration link

We have resolved the registration link problem we had on Monday 29th Oct 2012

Changes to joining number

We are upgrading our service to remove some of the ongoing number portability issues being encountered by all of us. To keep the service FREE to everyone we will use a virtual number +61427792934 to register and de-register. Vodafone is charging 31c including gst to your mobile,. We do not have the Telecom and 2Degrees charge rate as yet but assume it will be similar.

We now have a FREE way to register via this website – click here to register

Council announces free emergency notification service

Auckland council logo

Auckland residents will now have the option of notification of civil defence emergencies sent direct to their mobile phones, thanks to a new service provided by the Auckland Council and Auckland-based communications provider OPTn Limited.

The service will be free. However, mobile phone users will have to register their numbers here to have the service provided.

The service is based on an existing texting product provided by OPTN, but has been modified for emergency alerting purposes specifically for NZ Councils and Civil Defence departments

The service will enhance the emergency management team’s ability to ensure people have immediate access to timely and consistent information. “Getting real time information to people during a civil defence emergency is critical. This service, along with more traditional mediums such as radio is fundamental to helping us do this.”

The messaging service, which will be managed by the emergency management office in terms of content and updating, will be activated only in the event of a tsunami, an impending localised emergency such as a cyclone, or when a Civil Defence Emergency is likely to be declared.

“In this context our aim is to provide subscribers with relevant ‘heads up’ information to ensure they can be prepared and, subsequently, take any necessary action for a significant emergency situation.”

The Mt Ruapehu lahar incident, some 1400 text alert messages were sent and received within 8 minutes.

Registration is FREE if registering from the website or 31c via mobile phone.

Registration via mobile can be made by texting RDCD to +61427792934 (cost is 31c Vodafone)

Grownups website www.grownups.co.nz to support Civil Defence text alerts

Grownups website and OPTN Ltd collaborate to infom and encourage members to OPT in to the Civil Defence emergency text alert service for Tsunami warnings and other emergency alerts. About Grownups – ‘Are you 50+ and looking for an interesting and useful website? Visit www.grownups.co.nz, Where GrownUps Click’

Natural disaster alert just a free text message away

The Western Bay of Plenty has “another weapon in the arsenal” to protect people from natural disasters following the launch of a new text message warning service.

The free service will provide registered mobile phone users in the region with text alerts of storms, floods, tsunami and other Civil Defence emergencies.

The service was launched this week and is believed to be the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Residents in the Western Bay area – which extends from Waihi Beach in the north to Maketu in the south, and west across the Kaimai Ranges.
In the event of a disaster, text alerts and updates will be sent to those registered.

Click here to read the full article at nzherald.co.nz

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Civil Defence workers have been using a prototype warning system

Christchurch earthquake: Trial quake warning system gives vital seconds to get clear
By Isaac Davison
5:30 AM Thursday Mar 10, 2011

Warnings can only be sent to smartphones and computers.

Civil Defence workers have been using a prototype warning system which gives rescuers a three-second warning via mobile phone that an aftershock is arriving.

The developer says the technology is still in the trial period but University of Canterbury senior lecturer in active tectonics and geomorphology Mark Quigley said it was an exciting step.

Dr Quigley said the early-stage waves created by earthquakes (p-waves and s-waves) did not cause damage but could be detected by high-precision sensors.

P-waves travelled through hard rock at 5km to 7km a second, while surface waves, which cause damage, were slower, at around 2-3km/s.

If the early waves were detected, they could give people a warning before the destructive waves arrived.

Dr Quigley said: “A few seconds does not sound like much, but it could give someone time to get out of their car, which may be under a brick wall.”

Christchurch company Roam3 has developed the technology used by Civil Defence.

Director Brendan White said the system would not have prevented casualties in the Christchurch earthquake, because the quake’s close proximity meant people would not have had time to react.

But it could be effective in warning populated areas of a rupture in the South Island’s Alpine Fault, which is the most likely source of a large earthquake in New Zealand.

Immediately after the Lyttelton quake, Roam3 placed seismic instruments in the Banks Peninsula, near to the cloud of aftershocks. A day later, while in the Christchurch Art Gallery, Mr White said he was given a warning three seconds before an aftershock hit.

He said at this stage warnings could be sent only to smartphones and computers and were highly dependent on network traffic.

Telecommunications commentator Paul Brislen said sending a simultaneous message to every smartphone user in Christchurch could take between five minutes and an hour.

“That’s not to say this problem is insurmountable. In theory it is interesting, and people often find ways to get around these problems.”

A text message warning system was used at Mt Ruapehu when the lahar was close to overflow. The method was criticised after the crater lake spilled in 2007 because texts were slow to reach people.

The developer of that system, OPTN director Richard Guy, told the Herald that the messages were out within three minutes but a network logjam slowed them down.

Civil Defence head John Mitchell is supporting Roam3’s project, but has not indicated whether a wider public trial will go ahead.


Underground seismic sensors in Banks Peninsula detect the p-waves – the first, rapid-moving, non-damaging waves of an earthquake.

The sensors relay a message through telecommunications providers – Telecom, Vodafone and 2degrees – to a smartphone held by rescue workers.

The phone emits a loud warning about three seconds before an aftershock hits.
By Isaac Davison | Email Isaac