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New WA mobile app aims to save lives this bushfire season

Western Australians will have no excuse this bushfire season not to be better prepared with a new mobile app and website making the preparation of a bushfire survival plan much easier. The new My Bushfire Plan website and mobile app guide users through the creation of a plan in easy-to-follow steps that can be completed in just minutes. Designed and built-in WA, the new platform is an Australian first innovation commissioned by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

The website and companion app will assist people to make critical decisions ahead of the bushfire season. It will help them decide what they will do if a bushfire threatens their home and guide them to identify when they will leave, what they will take and where they will go.

Having a plan in place before a bushfire strikes can make all the difference when decisions made during a highly stressful event can cost lives. The new website and app have been launched in conjunction with a hard-hitting bushfire awareness advertising campaign.

The new campaign urges people to rethink their personal risk with just one in 10 Western Australians having a bushfire plan. The $1 million How Fireproof is Your Plan? campaign asks the community to evaluate their bushfire plans by showing the devastating consequences of being caught in a raging fire.

The television advertisement shows people, children and livestock trapped in dangerous bushfire scenarios after leaving it too late to leave during an emergency. The How Fireproof is Your Plan? advertising campaign will appear throughout the southern bushfire season on television, radio, print, online and billboards. The My Bushfire Plan app is available from the App Store, Google Play or on the website.

The Emergency Services Minister stated that the indecision can be deadly during a bushfire; this campaign is deliberately emotive to bring home the reality of being trapped on a property or in a car.

Research conducted by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services shows that while Western Australians understand the danger of fire and the bushfire risk for the State, most do not understand or plan for their own risk, which is why this campaign is so important.

People might think that they are prepared, but when their hose melts, the power fails or they become exhausted from the radiant heat, they will not be able to think clearly enough to make life-saving decisions.

The new My Bushfire Plan website and mobile app are very straightforward and contain some vital information that can save lives or properties.

Users must know beforehand what actions they will take during a bushfire and having a plan in place at their fingertips during an emergency could be the difference between life and death.

Fighting fire with tech

In October 2020, OpenGov Asia reported that Australia is currently developing its first CubeSat to predict where bushfires are likely to start and those that will be difficult to contain. The development will take place at The Australian National University’s (ANU) Mt Stromlo campus, led by remote-sensing expert Dr Marta Yebra and instrument scientist Dr Rob Sharp.

For this project, the ANU Institute for Space (InSpace) has awarded AU$1 million to the team to build an optical system that can detect changes on the ground through infrared detectors onboard the satellite. The ANU team will partner with other researchers and the private sector to complete the project and launch the new satellite into low-Earth orbit.

The satellite will accurately measure forest fuel load and vegetation moisture levels across Australia. The technology will be specifically tuned to detect changes in Australian plants and trees such as eucalyptus, which are highly flammable.

Pushing forward critical event management tech

The new solution is an excellent example of CEM technology. As regions and countries across the world battle wildfires and other natural calamities, Everbridge’s public warning solutions have been developed to significantly aid the mitigation of harm caused by such critical events.

Moreover, the company’s proprietary Public Warning solution enables government organizations and public safety agencies to immediately connect with every person in an affected area during a critical event regardless of nationality, residency or mobile telephone handset type.

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