Early Warning Network

Submitted: Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 14:10
ThreadID: 105971 Views:1583 Replies:1 FollowUps:6
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I came across this recently while researching UHF radios for a community fireguard group. The Early Warning Network provides location based emergency alerts for severe thunderstorms, hail, bushfires, floods, tropical cyclones, tsunami, heavy rainfall, damaging winds and other threats. It is a national system, not state based like some of the other alerting services, so would be very useful to travellers. You can receive alerts via email or SMS. The SMS alerts are a paid service after a free trial, but emergency service volunteers can get free SMS alerts. There are iPhone and Android apps available and alerts via these are free.

The main downside I can see is that you need some sort of phone or internet reception in order to receive these alerts. I've registered for the SMS alerts and have the app installed as well, but there haven't been any incidents to test it out (unlike last week!).

As to how I got there from searching about UHF, I was looking through the UHF CB site and they have an association with EWN to provide emergency warnings via CB broadcasts.
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Reply By: olcoolone - Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 15:38

Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 15:38
Don't see why you need an app from a third party...... And have to pay for it when you can get it from the horses mouth for free!

The Australian government do it for free and rolled it out about 4 months ago..... You don't follow the media?

http://www.emergencyalert.gov.au

http://www.zdnet.com/au/optus-joins-telstra-vodafone-on-emergency-alerts-upgrade-7000004679/
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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:16

Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:16
The app is free, as are alerts through it. It's only SMS alerts that are charged.

The government emergency alert system is only going to be used in major incidents. I don't know if it was used during the recent Grampians fires, but it should have been. We have had several fires near us in the last couple of weeks and received no notification from the emergency alert system you're talking about. I suspect that by the time I get any alert from this system I'll be well aware of any incident going on near me.
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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:22

Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:22
Just found this on the Emergency Alert website:
"Whether an emergency services organisation decides to issue telephone warnings through Emergency Alert will depend on the nature of the incident. Emergency Alert is not used in all circumstances."

So, if you rely only on the emergency alert phone message, you won't necessarily know about all incidents or warnings.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:33

Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:33
The alerts are for life threatening incidences only, i have the CFS app and ended up turning it off due to the warnings of small grass fire, house fire, motor accident etc etc...... Every 20 minutes something would happen and i would get an alert and most of the alerts were for nothing that was a threat to me.

As for fires there is no use warning someone 25 kilometres away.

Did the fires near you represent a direct threat to you, there are reasons why things are limited to those that need to know only...... It's called sight seers going for a gork hindering emergency personnel and locals.

I think you will find it was used in the recent fires in the Grampians as after the previous big fire that hit Victoria they the officials would not be cutting any corners.

Again it is only used if the incident is a direct threat to the area your in.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:44

Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:44
"So, if you rely only on the emergency alert phone message, you won't necessarily know about all incidents or warnings."

The more information you issue to someone or a group the greater the chance of confusion and panic ...... Last thing you want is confused people running around panicking causing more problems for the already stretched services.

In most cases the lesser some one knows the better, hence why at times it seems they don't release enough information.

The app your talking about anyone can place an incident report, this type of mass broadcasting is asking for trouble with incorrect, inaccurate and misleading information being provided by unqualified persons.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:56

Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:56
Just did a quick search and there is one run by the Vic Gov. Called Fire Ready, if it's like the SA CFS app it will warn you of all incidences they are involved in.

http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/fireready-app/
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Follow Up By: Hilux fan - Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 18:09

Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 18:09
"The app your talking about anyone can place an incident report, this type of mass broadcasting is asking for trouble with incorrect, inaccurate and misleading information being provided by unqualified persons."

EWN have to approve any uploaded incidents before they are put on the website. As stated on their apps page "Once confirming this, your incident report is uploaded to the EWN Alerts Administration panel. Where it is reviewed, categorised and approved by Alerts staff."

"Did the fires near you represent a direct threat to you, there are reasons why things are limited to those that need to know only...... It's called sight seers going for a gork hindering emergency personnel and locals."

Some of the fires near us were a threat (well, I call a fire in a pine plantation 4kms to the north on a 45 deg day threatening!). However, there would have only been about 5 households threatened if the fire got away, so it probably wasn't considered major enough. Another one in a nearby national park would have led to a repeat of the 2006 fires if the wind had been up. We were very lucky it was a still day.

I have the FireReady app already. You can turn off alerts for things you don't need to worry about, like car accidents etc and only receive the alerts you want. It's also available on the Vic emergency website (http://www.emergency.vic.gov.au/#now). The thing about the EWN app is that it's nationwide and you receive alerts depending on where you are, so I thought it would be useful for travellers.
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