[LINK] Early Warning Network

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sat May 16 01:38:16 AEST 2009

"The Australian Early Warning Network"


The Australian Early Warning Network (EWN) provides free emergency alerts 
covering everything from tsunamis through to severe weather. 

EWN monitors and tracks potentially dangerous weather systems and uses 
the network to alert people directly in the path of a thunderstorm with 
the potential for hail, flash flooding or damaging winds.

This service is available free of charge to the Australian public, 
business and government organisations.

Notifications are sent by: 

Desktop ALERT™ 
Mobile via SMS/pagers 
Phone (text to voice) 

The Early Warning Network is a multi-channel emergency ALERTING system 
that provides the ability to instantly and simultaneously broadcast 
alerts and notifications to individuals, groups, or person/s over 
multiple communication mediums. 

Messages can be sent sensitive to physical locations (name, street, post 
code, town or map location) or, any other grouping type EWN or an 
emergency authority designates. 

This service is made possible by sponsors. Sponsor messages are placed on 
the right hand side and footer of an email alert (Same for desktopALERT™) 
as well as on the website.

'Fire alert system offered, bushfires commission told'

by Gerard McManus and Norrie Ross  May 15th, 2009 12:00am

AN early warning system that could have alerted tens of thousands of 
Victorians on Black Saturday was not taken up by emergency services or 
the government.

In a yet-to-be-released submission to the royal commission, the 
Australian Early Warning Network says it offered its system to 
Victoria "at no cost" in the year leading up to the catastrophic fires. 

The offer was first made to the office of Emergency Services Commissioner 
Bruce Esplin in late 2007 as an interim system, until a national alert 
system was approved. 

"The Australian public is still TODAY at extreme risk from a catastrophic 
event which requires from government immediate treatment," the submission 

The opt-in system would have enabled authorities to send messages via 
email alerts, mobile/SMS text messages, pagers and landlines to pin-point 
locations and to anyone who asked to be on the system's alert list. 

Already 10,000 Australians, including many in Victoria, use the system, 
which sends messages warning of sudden and severe weather events. 

Authorities can use the Early Warning Network's databank to send messages 
using people's names, streets, postcodes, towns or map locations to 
within an accuracy of 3-10m. 

AEWN managing director Kerry Plowright confirmed last night he'd offered 
the system as early as October 31, 2007, but meetings with officials in 
the Emergency Services Department elicited no response. 

The company's 52-page submission claims its system might have saved 

"We could have done something even a week before the fires," Mr Plowright 
said yesterday. 

The Federal Government has called for applications for a $42 million 
national early warning system initially using landlines only, which uses 
Telstra phone book numbers. But its introduction was delayed by 
squabbling over funding, passing of legislation to permit the use of 
Telstra's database, and the tender process. 

Mr Plowright said it was "understandable" Victorian authorities may have 
been reluctant to use a private system without extensive testing. 

"That's why we offered it to them with no strings attached . . . at no 
cost and without obligation." 

In evidence to the Commission yesterday .. Of 552 deaths, 152 had been 
aware of the fire but had no plans or didn't follow them, and 59 had been 
unaware of the fire and realised too late. 



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