Safety first

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Web Web 23 -

IF A ma­jor weather event is headed for your area, you might go on­line to search for the in­for­ma­tion you need: What’s hap­pen­ing? Where and when will it strike? How se­vere will it be? What re­sources are avail­able to help?

The Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy, ABC and lo­cal coun­cil web­sites en­deav­our to pro­vide up- to- date in­for­ma­tion at times like these, but when whole states are flood­ing, the sys­tem un­der­stand­ably fails.

Google is step­ping up to the plate with a safety re­sponse func­tion util­is­ing Google Maps.

‘‘ The Google Cri­sis Re­sponse team works on pro­vid­ing crit­i­cal emer­gency in­for­ma­tion dur­ing crises,’’ the web­site says.

‘‘ Our goal is to sur­face emer­gency in­for­ma­tion through the on­line tools you use ev­ery day, when that in­for­ma­tion is rel­e­vant and use­ful.

‘‘ Google Public Alerts is Google’s new plat­form for dis­sem­i­nat­ing emer­gency mes­sages such as evac­u­a­tion no­tices for hur­ri­canes and ev­ery­day alerts such as storm warn­ings.

‘‘ We’re start­ing by show­ing rel­e­vant weather, public safety and earth­quake alerts from US Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice and the US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey.’’

As it’s still in beta stage, Google Cri­sis Re­sponse may not be very use­ful lo­cally for the time be­ing. Lo­cally, Emer­gency Alert en­ables state and ter­ri­tory au­thor­i­ties to is­sue voice mes­sages to land­lines, and text mes­sages to mo­bile tele­phones, linked to prop­er­ties in an area iden­ti­fied as be­ing at risk.

And the At­tor­ney- Gen­eral has launched an Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment smart­phone app that aims to arm Aus­tralians with the lat­est of­fi­cial dis­as­ter in­for­ma­tion.

The Dis­as­ter watch phone app ( for An­droid and iphone) con­tains the lat­est public in­for­ma­tion about dis­as­ter events via di­rect feeds from a range of au­thor­i­ta­tive sources in the states and ter­ri­to­ries and na­tion­ally. • More in­for­ma­tion on the Dis­as­ter Watch web­site: em.gov.au/ Re­sources/ Pages/ Dis­as­ter watch phone App. aspx

Bring­ing ser­vices to­gether is the Aus­tralian multi- gov­ern­ment web­site Emer­gency Alert.

Be Warned. Be In­formed, which pro­vides in­for­ma­tion on the na­tional emer­gency alert sys­tem and of­fers FAQS and links to state and ter­ri­tory emer­gency ser­vice au­thor­i­ties. Visit emer­gen­cyalert.gov.au

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