Emergency Mobile Alert

Emergency Mobile Alerts are messages about emergencies sent by authorised emergency agencies to capable mobile phones.

Civil defence logo in front of picture of mobile phoneCapable phones list


Results of the nationwide test

Sign up to receive an email about the next nationwide test

Whakatūpato Waea Pūkoro Ohotata

What are Emergency Mobile Alerts?

Emergency Mobile Alerts are messages about emergencies sent by authorised emergency agencies to capable mobile phones. The alerts are designed to keep people safe and are broadcast to all capable phones from targeted cell towers. 

The alerts can be targeted to areas affected by serious hazards and will only be sent when there is a serious threat to life, health, or property, and in some cases for test purposes.

If you get an alert, read the message and take it seriously. It will tell you what the emergency is and what to do. It will also tell you which agency sent the message and if needed, where to go for more information.


How to get Emergency Mobile Alerts

To get Emergency Mobile Alerts you need a phone capable of receiving Emergency Mobile Alerts. The phone also needs to have cell reception and up to date software. You don’t have to download an app or subscribe to a service.

1. Check if your phone is on the list of capable phones

2. Update your phone’s operating system software.

Please refer to your phone manual or talk to your mobile operator if you need help updating your phone.

We expect one third of phones will initially be able to receive the alerts. However, we expect this number to rise substantially over time.


Can I opt out of getting Emergency Mobile Alerts?

As Emergency Mobile Alert is about keeping you safe, you won’t be able to opt-out of receiving Emergency Mobile Alert.

We do not target specific phones, instead we broadcast to a targeted area that is at risk. For this reason we are unable to exclude your specific phone.

Your phone may show optional settings used in other countries, but in New Zealand we will use a special broadcast channel that is permanently on.

What does Emergency Mobile Alert look and sound like?

The look of emergency alerts will depend on the make and model of your phone. However, the alerts will have common characteristics. Emergency Mobile Alerts will tell you the situation, what to do, the time, the agency sending the alert, and if needed, where to go for more information.

The alert should appear automatically on your phone’s screen with a unique and penetrating warning sound.

Emergency Mobile Alert does not replace other emergency alerts!

Emergency Mobile Alert is an additional channel to help keep people safe in an emergency and does not replace other alerting systems, or the need to take action after natural warnings.

You should still be prepared for an emergency, and you shouldn’t wait to get an alert before you act. If you feel your life is in danger, don’t wait for an official warning. Take immediate action.

Take the time to make your own emergency plan which includes what to do, where to go, who to go to for help and who you might need to look out for.

Get in touch with your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group to find out about other alerting systems in your area.

Sign up to find out about upcoming nationwide tests

We'll send you an email when a date has been set for the next nationwide test of Emergency Mobile Alert.

More information and resources

Read our FAQs to find more information about Emergency Mobile Alert

Watch the NZSL video about Emergency Mobile Alert

Find resources to help us promote Emergency Mobile Alert.

Director's Statement for Emergency Mobile Alert Device Standards 31 May 2018 (PDF 0.9mb)

Decision for Emergency Mobile Alert to remain non-opt-out July 2018 (PDF 0.3mb)