Smartphone app DisasterWatch to alert Australians of looming dangers

Smartphone app DisasterWatch to alert Australians of looming dangers

12 December 2011

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Australia — FLOODS and bushfire information will be delivered to the pockets of Australians in times of natural disaster from now on.

Free smartphone application DisasterWatch will round up information from authorities across the country on everything from fire bans to cyclone warnings and deliver them to iPhone and Android owners.

Developed by the Federal Government, it will help stressed home owners when the power goes out and slash calls to 000 in times of disaster.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the app was available for the 4.5 million Australians who owned smartphones in time for this summer season.

And it would be important for the future, with more people expected to surf the internet via mobile devices than desktop computers by 2013, he said.

“The Government saw developing this product as a priority given the growth of this market, particularly among younger Australians, and an increasing reliance on the internet and social-media for information,” Mr McClelland said.

It could also reduce time-consuming and unnecessary calls to 000.

“Nearly half of all calls to 000 are non-urgent calls and when a disaster happens, calls are often requests for information about the disaster,” he said.

A greater use of social media would take the strain off 000 call centres and leave them free to manage real emergencies, he said.

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