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Victorians connecting during emergencies like never before

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07 Jan 2015
A message from the State Control Centre

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley has welcomed new figures showing Victorians are accessing summer warnings in record numbers but has warned against complacency as the hot weather continues.

Despite forecast rain, Mr Lapsley urged Victorians to be prepared.

“There is rain on the horizon from tomorrow through to the weekend but it will only take a couple of days of hot, dry and windy weather for us to be facing severe to extreme fire danger again.

“We have another eight weeks of summer ahead of us and emergency services are well prepared but that does not mean there is roon for complacency in the community.

“You need to prepare now and be ready to act in the event of an emergency.”

As bushfires threatened communities during the last week of December and first week of January, hundreds of thousands of people accessed emergency information – including warnings – via social media, the FireReady App and www.emergency.vic.gov.au.

Mr Lapsley said downloads of the FireReady App had grown by five per cent in the past week.

“Since Christmas, the FireReady App has been added to more than 43,000 phones and tablets, with more than 780,000 downloads since it was relaunched in December 2013,” he said.

During this period, a total of 7.73 million push notifications were also sent for incidents, warnings, Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans.

“It is fantastic to see people are taking advantage of the app but it is also important that people familiarise themselves with technology before fire breaks out. Download the FireReady app today and set up your watch zones to start receiving push notifications for incidents and warnings,” Mr Lapsley said.

Mr Lapsely said in addition to the app, Victoria’s website for emergencies emergency.vic.gov.au and social media were being accessed in record numbers, including more than 145,000 visits.

The website and cfa.vic.gov.au have also recently been updated to better display on mobile phones.

“In combination with emergency broadcasters including ABC Radio, and the Victorian Bushfire Information Line, Victorians have never had better access to potentially lifesaving information,” he said.

“Using multiple sources allows you to access warnings and important information which can help you make informed decisions about what to do in an emergency.

“Like anything, technology can fail which is why it is important no-one relies soley on smartphones or the internet to receive emergency information.”

Mr Lapsley said more than 108 warnings were issued over the four day period between New Year’s Day and January 2.

“We’ve seen some of the most significant fire weather since February 2014 with emergency services responding to a number of major fires, mainly in the west of the state,” he said.

“Thankfully, the combination of the good work of firefighters and an excellent response from communities has meant no loss of life.”

STAY INFORMED AND BE PREPARED

  • Tune in to ABC radio, commercial and designated radio stations or Sky News TV.
  • Download the FireReady App – set up ‘watch zones’ to allow for push notifications for incidents and warnings.
  • Add www.emergency.vic.gov.au to your favourites list on your internet browser.
  • Enter the Victorian Bushfire Information Line 1800 240 667 into your phone contacts.
  • Connect with CFA Twitter and Facebook accounts.
  • A written plan will help you remember what needs to be done during an emergency. It’s important to prepare your property, but you also need to prepare yourself.

 

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