Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Lifestyle

Thinking about your business
Is a big part of ours

ACT arsed up the use of emergency alerts during the Mitchell fire

By johnboy 22 November 2011 25

mitchell fire

Senator Humphries is letting us know that he’s had the answers back to the Questions On Notice he asked the Attorney-General on why the Emergency Alert system failed during the Mitchell Fire emergency.

In response to questions on notice asked by Senator Humphries, the Attorney-General has put it in terms clear as day:

    The Emergency Alert technology did not fail; the system was not used in accordance with the Recommended Use Guidelines.

The response also says that the ACT Government operators clearly exceeded the design of the system:

    The campaign expired in 30 minutes because the ACT operator did not extend the validity time for the operation of the campaign, in accordance with the landline call volume and system design parameters. The failure to do so meant that there was only sufficient time for a third of the landlines to be dialled.

    The 86,801 landlines in the warning polygon drawn by the ACT operator exceeded Emergency Alert’s recommended limit of 50,000 calls for a single campaign (as per the Recommended Use Guide) by approximately 73%.

The response also notes that the ACT did not attend training workshops run by the Victorian operators of the system in 2010 and 2011.

[Photo by Thisisaname]

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
25 Responses to
ACT arsed up the use of emergency alerts during the Mitchell fire
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
whitelaughter 12:24 am 24 Nov 11

jimbocool said :

There is a simple, cheap and effective system developed here in Canberra called Yellowbird Alert – http://www.yellowbirdalert.com/- it’s like a siren and radio rolled in to one. The idea is to have one in each home (a bit like a smoke detector) and when there’s an emergency the ESA switches it on remotely, it emits a siren and then broadcasts information.

Cheap, when every home needs one? Worthwhile, perhaps, but hardly cheap.

The simplest way to wake everyone up and let us know that there’s a problem is to get the RAAF to scramble a plane and break the sound barrier over the area concerned – everyone’s going to be heading to their phones to complain, so the followup sms would get read.

creative_canberran 9:39 pm 23 Nov 11

steveu said :

I never understood why the ‘cell broadcast’ feature in the mobile phone network wasnt used. Im sure theres a good reason – but given that the mobile phone system has had this capability built in for years…

Indeed it has, used presently to transmit largely inane geographic data to handsets. It’s ideal from a distribution point of view, less so at the user’s end.

This from Nokia Australia:

“With the cell broadcast network service, you can receive messages on various topics from your service provider, such as weather or traffic conditions in a particular region. To receive cell broadcast messages, you may need to activate the cell broadcast reception on. Select Options > Settings > Cell broadcast > Reception > On.

You can set important topics as hot topics. While the device is in standby mode, you are notified when you receive a message related to a hot topic. Select a topic, and select Options > Hotmark.”

It was designed over a decade ago in the original GSM spec as a way for providers to deliver content, a bit like a push version of Telstra’s PocketNews service. Business model never emerged and the feature is largely forgotten in light of WAP and later standards.

It’s an ideal medium and it’s big in Europe but it relies on the option being enabled on the handset and even being available. I don’t believe iPhone has it at all and a lot of smartphones may have it disabled by default as it’s a legacy feature that drains battery life if left on.

Skidbladnir 9:20 pm 23 Nov 11

steveu said :

I never understood why the ‘cell broadcast’ feature in the mobile phone network wasnt used. Im sure theres a good reason – but given that the mobile phone system has had this capability built in for years…

While it would have made this easier, Cell Broadcast within Cell was part of GSM, but Australia didn’t make it mandatory in 3G rollout. Blame the Telcos and the lobby groups, but it means that not every tower nor every handset is supported so can’t be relied upon in emergencies.

But the single “registered billing addresses” method they used for determining affected parties was a terrible method of deriving a set of notification candidates.

steveu 8:23 pm 23 Nov 11

I never understood why the ‘cell broadcast’ feature in the mobile phone network wasnt used. Im sure theres a good reason – but given that the mobile phone system has had this capability built in for years…

Gungahlin Al 3:46 pm 23 Nov 11

Waiting For Godot said :

Labor/Greens politics rules again. The ACT government didn’t send people to the training course in Victoria because it was organised by a Liberal government. So the left is so blinkered and prejudiced they are willing to put lives at risk to maintain their ideological purity.

That is an absurd assertion.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site