Callaghan-funded tech gives early warning when disaster looms

Callaghan-funded tech gives early warning when disaster looms

A Kiwi-developed disaster warning system has been given $260,000 by the government's innovation body Callaghan Innovation.

The Tsunado alerts people to natural disasters like tsunamis, forest fires, tornados, floods and earthquakes with a 
high-intensity alarm similar to those found in smoke alarms. 

The Tsunado has a radio receiver and a speaker that can be activated by the Civil Authority controlling an area, and an official emergency message delivered in conjunction with local and national radio stations.

CEO of Disaster Warning  Systems (DIWA), Rhys Greensill, says the battery life of up to ten days makes it an alternative to cellphone-based systems when the power is out, 

"Experience in New Zealand and overseas shows that [cellphone systems] are very fragile in major disasters. With cellphone networks overloading or disrupted, they operate for only a short time after an event, if at all. We are therefore using a combination of broadcast technologies such as satellite and FM radio.”

Callaghan gave DIWA $5000 for a free to operate search and this year they were granted $255,000 to complete development.

After a pilot DIWA has signed a license agreement with Auckland Civil Defence, a division of Auckland Council, to broadcast public alerting messages using this Tsunado system.

DIWA says the systems will be available by early November on its website.