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Don't wait for sirens: Tsunami review

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/04/2017

A review has prompted a change in community response plans should a tsunami warning be in place following an earthquake in the Christchurch and Banks Peninsula region.

Christchurch City Council reviewed the current plans at Mayor Lianne Dalziel's request following concerns from elected members and residents in coastal communities.

The findings of the review, along with 48 recommendations, were released on Friday.

"The biggest lesson is if an earthquake is 'long or strong, get gone'. Don't wait for the sirens," Mayor Dalziel said.

There was confusion after the Kaikoura earthquake in November and Mayor Dalziel says it's important people know how to evacuate and where to go.

"Everyone getting in a car and driving is not an effective way to evacuate ahead of a local source tsunami."

The focus of the review was to determine a number of factors including why the messaging was inconsistent and how evacuation of coastal communities could be better coordinated.

The 45 tsunami sirens installed along the Christchurch coastline from Brooklands to Taylors Mistake were sounded within 10 minutes after the national warning was issued, but some residents evacuated before the sirens.

Most locals relied on the sirens but the advice is now if an earthquake is long or strong then residents should evacuate without waiting for the sirens.

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