Section: Simon Corbell, MLA | Media Releases
The Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell, today unveiled a new way for Canberrans to access information during emergencies in the Territory with the unveiling of a new website and social media accounts for the ACT Emergency Services Agency.
"The ability to obtain timely and accurate information in an accessible format is critical for the community in times of major emergency as was demonstrated with the recent Mitchell factory fire," Mr Corbell said.
"The official bushfire season commences in the ACT tomorrow while we have already entered the annual increased period of storm activity," he said.
"The new ACT Emergency Services Agency website has been created to provide access to emergency information, updates and warnings as a key priority.
"People can make a more informed decision on what action to take during a major emergency such as bushfire, storm or flood if they have the latest advice from the ESA.
"All the indicators point to a very busy fire season in the months ahead, particularly with the likelihood of many grass fires in the urban area.
"Canberrans will now be able to easily find out information about these fires and other emergency incidents through the new ESA website and social media accounts in addition to local media outlets:
"ESA News Alerts are published 24 hours a day to ensure the community is kept informed of major emergency situations and significant incidents. They can also be issued to provide advice to the community on what action to take or an emergency warning if that is required. ESA News Alerts will also be published simultaneously on the ESA Twitter and Facebook accounts.
"The list of ESA Current Incidents is an automated feed of information direct from the ESA computer aided dispatch system. This will include basic details of an incident such as location, type, time of call and status. There is also an option to view the ESA Current Incidents information on a map of the ACT.
"Canberrans are also able to subscribe to this information directly to their own computer or hand-held device via an RSS feed of ESA News Alerts and a GeoRSS feed of the ESA Current Incidents.
"This is the first ACT Government website to allow users to view content in languages other than English including emergency information, updates and warnings. Users simply select from one of the 53 languages they want to view the site in.
"All of this information is also more accessible than ever before with the new ESA website built to the WCAG Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.
The new ESA website is hosted on robust architecture in both Canberra and Sydney to maximise the availability of the website in high demand emergency situations which was a key learning out of several recent major emergencies in Australia including the Queensland Floods and Victorian Bushfires.
"The recent Mitchell factory fire demonstrated the community's keen use of the ESA website and Twitter account. The ESA issued 37 alerts and updates via ESA website and through local media outlets. During this time the website recorded 64,963 visits with a total of 127, 285 page views. The ESA also posted 107 tweets on the ESA Twitter account @ACT_ESA and has gone from having 15 followers to over 1900.
"I encourage Canberrans to log on to the new ESA website and save it in your favourites and follow and join the ESA social media accounts in readiness for the summer ahead."