Australia — SMS warnings will be sent to all mobile phones in any areas under threat from bushfires in South Australia from November.
The enhanced National Emergency Alert system will be able to send a text message to all mobile phones on the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks if a phone’s last known location was in the fire zone.
In the past texts were only sent to those people who had a registered service address within the area under threat.
“New technology is being adopted to allow visitors or people passing through an area to also receive SMS warnings in the event of a bushfire or other emergency,” Emergency Services Minister Michael O’Brien said on Monday.
Telstra adopted the new technology from December last year with SA the first state to use the new system.
Vodafone and Optus will introduce the technology from November this year, ensuring all mobile phone users are covered.
Country Fire Service chief officer Greg Nettleton said SMS messages were just one of a number of ways the service could issue warnings.
“In an emergency the ability to reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible with the right information, relies on a multi-channel communication process,” he said.
But Mr Nettleton said no single warning system should be relied on and people should seek information from various sources, including websites and local radio broadcasts.