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Listen to the tsunami siren sounds

From time to time, visitors staying in coastal communities hear a siren sound (especially during hours of darkness) and become concerned that it’s alerting them to a tsunami warning.

Most commonly, the sound they’ve heard is the siren that summons members of the local volunteer fire brigade. These sirens generally have a rise/fall ‘air raid’ type tone.

More recently, new building alarms required to be installed have a siren tone which is very similar to Northland tsunami sirens and the difference can be difficult to detect. However, after four cycles of the sound, there is a voice message stating that it is a fire alarm.

The audio clips below are provided to help distinguish between the different siren types.

Example - volunteer fire brigade siren (although there are some exceptions):

Listen to the sound of the fire brigade siren (.mp3 file, 773KB)

Northland tsunami siren:

Listen to the Tsunami warning siren (.mp3 file, 121KB)

New generation fire alarms (siren tone plus voice):

Listen to the building fire alarm (.mp3 file, 400KB)

If a tsunami warning is in effect, it will be posted on the National Emergency Management Agency website: www.civildefence.govt.nz and in the yellow box on the top right hand side of our website homepage.

We also support the use of smartphone alerting platforms – you can find more info on these at: www.nrc.govt.nz/cdalert