Emergency communication & information
The Eden site has a dedicated page to Emergency and Safety Links, including crisis support services and bushfire information.
During and after the floods in January 2011 and January 2013, the Lowood community website kept the community informed about emergency procedures and services, evacuation centres, bridge and road damage, local council, state and federal assistance, and recovery programmes.
During the fire disaster affecting the Gippsland Region of Victoria in January 2009, coordinators of the Mirboo North community website ensured community members were kept well informed. On the homepage of the site they included emergency numbers for the CFA and fire and ambulance authorities, as well as details for local radio stations and information on the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
During the week of the fires, hits to the local website increased seven fold. This explosion of web visits shows how important the Mirboo North website is as a local source of news and information.
The South Gippsland Shire Council contacted the Mirboo North community website to acknowledge their efforts and provide additional information to be included on the site, realising its importance as a communication portal for the area.
Visit the following communities to see how they are also providing vital emergency information (includes information on bushfires and floods):
A group of volunteers in the Mangrove Mountain area, in the hinterland of the Central Coast of New South Wales, pioneered an online system early in 2010 to alert the community to potential threats, such as bushfires and severe weather: www.macs.mangrovemountain.nsw.au
The Mangrove Alerts Community System (MACS) is based on a combination of information drawn from official sources and the invitation to subscribers from the community to contribute first-hand information.
Alert messages will be quickly distributed to subscribers by email, text-to-mobile phones and text-to-voice-to-landline phones, or any combination of these methods depending on the urgency.
Nick Mason of MACS states, “The objective of MACS is to supplement and support other alert systems locally, including the Government funded ‘Emergency Alert’ system to be used for major life-threatening emergencies.
Nick Mason of MACS states, “The objective of MACS is to supplement and support other alert systems locally, including the Government funded ‘Emergency Alert’ system to be used for major life-threatening emergencies.”
“The sooner you are aware of a threat, the better placed you are to monitor the situation and take appropriate action before it becomes a more serious threatening emergency.”
Mr Mason adds, “We are disadvantaged in our area at present by problems with Broadband and mobile phone coverage, especially in the remoter areas more vulnerable to bushfires. In addition, and perhaps partly because of this, many in the community do not yet realise that mobile phones can be used for a lot more than just making phone calls. Looking to the future, we believe this will change.”
The MACS web address is associated with the Mangrove Mountain Community Geographic Domain Name: www.mangrovemountain.nsw.au
Under the threat of bushfires in South Gippsland in 2007, the Koonwarra community used their website to invite the local community to a public meeting held with the CFA. Half of the town attended the meeting, where the CFA appointed a committee to develop the fire plan. Later on this helped residents to develop their own plan.
Mr Considine, Brigade Captain of the CFA, said that 70% of properties could be saved if Koonwarra was beseeched by fire.
The Koonwarra website created a template for other CGDN communities to follow in developing their own fire plan.
The community attendance at the meeting and response to the initiative proved that the website is a trusted voice for the community.