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Fire conditions see peak in demand for digital warnings

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11 Feb 2014
The most intense fire conditions in Victoria in the past five years have seen an increase in demand for bushfire information and warnings delivered through the VicEmergency website and FireReady app.

  • More than 497,000 total downloads of new FireReady app
  • More than 85,000 new downloads on Sunday 9 February 2014 alone
  • Almost 12 million notifications sent to app users on Sunday, including 3.8 million notifications for fire warnings
  • Currently number one app on iTunes Australia Free App store VicEmergency website received more than 897,00 hits over weekend 101,500 hits between 2pm-3pm Sunday 9 February 2014

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the new app – developed to provide Victorians with fire warnings and information based on the user’s Watch Zone – has been downloaded 497,183 times since its launch on 16 December 2013.

"As our state faced the worst fire conditions in five years, the new FireReady app sent nine million fire notifications direct to mobile devices on Sunday," Mr Lapsley said

"The VicEmergency website also successfully met the increase in demand, with more than 897,000 hits recorded across the weekend and usage peaking at 12,000 new visits to the site every minute."

The FireReady app and VicEmergency site are two information channels used as part of Victoria's integrated warning system.

Other information channels include ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations or Sky News TV, the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667, and CFA’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

These channels have also seen a peak in demand, with more than 11,100 calls to the Victorian Bushfire Information Line in the 24 hours til Midnight on Sunday 9 February 2014.

Location based Emergency Alerts have also been sent direct to mobile phones. For example, 58,000 texts were sent and 13,000 calls were made to landlines regarding the Mickleham Kilmore fire.

"We know Victorians have a high demand for digital warnings, but don’t wait for a warning to be sent to your phone - it’s your responsibility to know your local conditions and be informed. No-one should rely on one source of information during an emergency," Mr Lapsley said.

Apple users can download the free app from the iTunes store, while Android users can download it from the Department of Justice’s Google store.

The VicEmergency website is available at http://www.emergency.vic.gov.au. A fast-loading text version of the site is also available at http://www.emergency.vic.gov.au/text.html 
 

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