Is There An Opportunity For Mass-Communication Of Urgent Community Advices?

The recent interruption to water supply to many coastal townships has highlighted to me the possible opportunity for a system of communicating urgent information to an affected section of the community at short notice, ie by way of SMS or email messages and/or social media to those who voluntarily register their details on a central database.

I’ll use the recent example of the water interruption as an example however the obvious primary benefit of such a system would be in the case of impending dire emergency situations such as approaching cyclones, bushfires, tsunamis, etc where immediate threat to life and property is a factor.

During the water interruption many accommodation facilities, eateries and other business operators together with the wider residential community could have been informed of the situation immediately and then directed to a central website for regular progress reports. Those involved in running businesses could have made more informed decisions as to whether they should remain open or what alternative arrangements they should make for their clients whilst local residents would also be able to make alternative arrangements within their household regime.

Admittedly, not everyone is internet savvy or connected by email or SMS technology however a broad section of the community is and the number is growing rapidly. In the same vein, urgent advices were broadcast over local radio stations however not everyone would have been tuned in to hear them.

Having received feedback from a number of people over this issue, I’m keen to learn more and whilst I’m sure that the technology is available, I’ve asked Council officers to research the possibilities  of implementing it with Council’s existing software and advise if there any impediments which would prevent us from further exploring the introduction of such a system. I’m sure that it’s not as straight forward as many have suggested to me but it’s certainly worth looking into.

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