Australia’s State of Victoria Reveals Plans for FireReady app and Emergency Web site for Important Fire Alerts

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By Janice Somosot | December 18, 2013 4:49 PM EST

Australia's State of Victoria reveals plans for a FireReady app and an emergency website for important fire alerts. This is in response to the alarming rate of destructive and deadly bushfires in Australia.

According to a report from WA Today, Victoria's new FireReady app is an improvement of the widely criticized app from the Country Fire Authority (CFA). The new FireReady app from Victoria will be different from the original CFA fire alert app, which reportedly failed to provide timely updates and relevant information and used way too much battery power because of unnecessary data. This was a disappointment for a lot of Australians who hoped to rely on it during the previous bushfire season.

Fire Services Commissioner (FSC) Craig Lapsley said the FireReady app uses less battery power and is now more reliable.

"The app has undergone stringent testing to ensure it is robust and can scale up in emergency conditions when the demand for information is highest," said Lapsley in the WA Today report.

The CFA's fire alert app will be taken down some time during the week of Christmas. Users will be alerted about updates on the new FireReady app so that they can change from using the app's old version to the new one.

Victoria's new FireReady app is now also designed to handle millions of users. Moreover, Victoria's emergency services promise that it will not crash, and it was reportedly tested and was proven that it could send "millions of push notifications per hour". This means that users who have downloaded the FireReady app and enabled its notifications will receive it automatically. This is especially important during emergencies.

The creation of new FireReady app by the State of Victoria in Australia was led by the new Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley, in cooperation with the Department of Justice. It combines information from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, and the CFA. It was created by Dialog Information Technology and hosted in two Australian data centres through Amazon.  

"Users will find the new app has a different look and feel to the original one and as with any software, we'll continue to update the app as required to make sure it presents the best possible information service," said Lapsley in the WA Today report.

However, the FireReady app is only available only for smartphones using Apple's iOS or Android operating systems. Unfortunately, BlackBerry and Windows phones will not be able to use it.

Aside from fires, the app from the State of Victoria in Australia will eventually include information about other natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms and floods. According to an FSC spokeswoman, the app's name would change if other information will be included.

Meanwhile, the VicEmergency website was also launched by Kim Wells, the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response. The VicEmergency website uses combined reports from various agencies for updates about fires, traffic incidents, earthquakes, storms, floods, tsunami, and power outages.

Check out the Country Fire Authority's (CFA) FireReady app from Australia's Victorian Government. (Click HERE).

Take a look at the VicEmergency Web site from Australia's Victorian Government. (Click HERE).

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