If you hear sirens or "stingers" on Sunday, September 24, don't be alarmed, public alert systems are being tested in Napier and in Hastings coastal communities.

Hastings urban (city) "stinger" testing will also take place in Havelock North, Hastings CBD, Mahora, Stortford Lodge and Flaxmere on Thursday, September 21, between noon -1pm.

The 17 sirens in Napier will sound for five minutes from 11.50am on September 24, while Civil Defence volunteers will be driving around Waimarama, Clive, the Cape Kidnappers coast and Whirinaki with "stingers" for about an hour from this time.

It's part of the regular testing regime by the Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.

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The alert systems are aimed at encouraging people to seek further information, by tuning in to a local radio station and awaiting further instructions, visiting the HBemergency website, or the HBemergency Facebook page.

Marcus Hayes-Jones from the Hawke's Bay Emergency Management Group says in a real emergency Hawke's Bay radio stations will broadcast the latest advice from Civil Defence regarding what to do in an event.

"A key element of the alerting test is a follow-up public survey. This helps us to gauge how effective the stingers and sirens are and I'd urge everyone to go to our website and fill it out - whether or not they heard the sirens and stingers," says Mr Hayes-Jones.

"Any feedback is useful as it will help us pinpoint any faulty equipment or "blackspots" where the alerts did not reach."

Those who complete the survey online before October 6 will go in a draw to win an installed emergency water tank or a family-sized Grab n' Go bag of supplies and equipment.

Mr Hayes-Jones says it is important people remember in the event of a major earthquake, that lasts longer than a minute or is strong enough to knock you off your feet, the sirens will not sound and the best thing to do is to head for higher ground or at least 1.5km inland immediately. Do not wait for a warning - remember 'Long or Strong, Get Gone!'

For more information, go to www.hbemergency.govt.nz or check for updates on Facebook (www.facebook.com/hbemergency).