Trial by fire: Vic bushfire system on alert

40 degree scorcher to put state emergency comms to the test

Victoria’s troubled bushfire alert system will be put to the test today as the state braces for catastrophic fire conditions and soaring 40 degree temperatures.

The tinderbox conditions follow a spate of problems for the state’s alert system which includes telephone and SMS alerts, and updated information available on the Country Fire Authority (CFA) website.

Only last week human error saw the CFA Bushfire Information Line provide outdated information for 12 days, while the authority’s website crashed in December during a day of extreme fire warnings.

Red Cross enterprise architecture and planning manager, Ken Garnett, who is researching the systems for use by the organisation, said there is no single solution to deliver bushfire warnings.

“The whole communications infrastructure is difficult… mobile phones are great until or if the towers burn down, hand-held radios have distance limitations, and satellite cannot work through thick smoke,” Jarnett said.

“Satellite can be wheeled in, but will fail in smoke and storms, which is an obvious problem near the fire.

“It creates a situation between a rock and a hard place.”

Garnett is looking for solutions that will help with disaster response in bushfire-prone areas and remote communities under the organisation's jurisdiction.

He said the best solution would likely deliver warnings though a combination of cellular, fixed, online and satellite technologies.

Communication between the state’s emergency response organisations has improved, Jarnett said, and the Red Cross is now forewarned of possible bushfires.

However he conceded emergency services are often caught-out because of the erratic nature of bushfires.

An inquiry by the Department of Premier and Cabinet is being launched into the failures of the early warning systems.

The CFA urged Victorians to monitor weather conditions with updated bushfire information on the Department of Sustainability and Environment and CFA websites, the Victorian Bushfire Information Line and radio.

The state smashed records last January with three successive days of temperatures above 43 degrees, peaking at 44.3 degrees.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cfacommunicationbushfires

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Darren Pauli

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things


Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?