New Online Emergency System Mangrove Mountain
A group of volunteers in the Mangrove Mountain area in the hinterland of the Central Coast of New South Wales have pioneered a new online system to alert the community to potential threats, such as bushfires and severe weather.
The Mangrove Alerts Community System (MACS) is based on a combination of information drawn from official sources and the invitation to subscribers from the community to contribute first-hand information.
Alert messages will be quickly distributed to subscribers by email, text-to-mobile phones and text-to-voice-to-landline phones, or any combination of these methods depending on the urgency.
MACS operates in conjunction with the Early Warning Network (EWN) (www.ewn.com.au) but with the potential to be enhanced by specific local information contributed by subscribers or local official agencies.
Nick Mason of MACS states, “The objective of MACS is to supplement and support other alert systems locally, including the Government funded ‘Emergency Alert’ system to be used for major life-threatening emergencies.
“The sooner you are aware of a threat, the better placed you are to monitor the situation and take appropriate action before it becomes a more serious threatening emergency.”
Mr Mason adds, “We are disadvantaged in our area at present by problems with Broadband and mobile phone coverage, especially in the remoter areas more vulnerable to bushfires. In addition, and perhaps partly because of this, many in the community do not yet realise that mobile phones can be used for a lot more than just making phone calls. Looking to the future, we believe this will change.”
The MACS web address is associated with the Mangrove Mountain Community Geographic Domain Name: www.mangrovemountain.nsw.au
Focusing on localised-emergency information has been a priority for .au Community Domains who responded quickly to the devastating Victorian Bushfires in 2009 by providing community websites for 28 bushfire affected communities including www.kinglake.vic.au, www.marysville.vic.au and www.clonbinane.vic.au.
Communities that had existing CGDN websites during the 2009 Victorian bushfire season, such as Mirboo North at www.mirboonorth.vic.au, experienced hits to their local website increased seven fold. This explosion of web visits shows how important a community driven website is as a local source of news and information.
.au Community Domains, (03) 9863 8577, www.aucd.org.au, ACN 118 505 196