I have to say that the CFA on the ground do a magnificent job and I dare anyone to argue with me. The problem is with the people using the technology given to them to advise us, the public about what is going on are failing us miserably.
Today a Watch and Act Alert was raised for the Raglan area in the North West of Victoria, an area bordered by the Sunraysia, the Western and the Pyrennes Highways. There was and is nothing wrong with the warnings. They needed to an were raised in a timely manner.
The problem was what the warnings were not showing up on the main page of the CFA incidents site. There were numerous warnings throughout the day – the first one for the 18th March was raised at 7.23am, the second one at 8.55am the next one at 10.30am. There were other warnings issued AFTER this time – but they displayed correctly – so there was no need for me to screen-shot them and post.
So lets have a look at the first screen shot.
Screen shot taken at 9.20am – yet the 8.55am written warning does not display (note that if you clicked the 7.23am link it DOES take you through to the 8.55am warning) but on first look it would appear there have been no further updates since 7.23am
Now the Second screen shot.
Screen shot taken at 9.20am. This is the written warning of 8.55am, (accessed via the 7.23am link) notice that it clearly states that the township of Raglan is likely to be impacted between 8.30am-10.30am. That time is RIGHT NOW, the time I took that screen shot.
The Third screen shot
Screen shot taken at 11.02am – notice that the 7.23am warning is still listed, no mention of the 8.55am warning and now the 10.30am warning makes an appearance.
The Fourth Screen shot
Screen shot taken at 11.11am – notice that the 8.55am warning is still not listed and the 10.30am warning has been removed (it’s only been 9 minutes since the last screen shot)
The residents of Raglan are relying on information that looks to be 3.5hours old, when in fact is it 2.25hours out of date.
The fifth screen shot
Screen shot taken at 11.11am – notice in bold that it clearly stated ACTIVATE YOUR BUSHFIRE SURVIVAL PLAN. As residents of Victoria, this means to get out if planning on leaving and stay and prepare if planning on staying. It can’t get much more serious, if you are planning on leaving.
So a recap – warnings issued at 7.23am, 8.55am. 10.30am and yet from the CFA incident summary page, it would appear that at certain times, only the warning of 7.23am or the warning of 10.30am were issued and no mention of the 8.55am warning.
You have to click through to determine if a fresh warning or not. This is not acceptable.
As residents of Victoria, and as per the interim Royal Commission Report, we are entitled to as accurate information as is available and yet clearly this is not occurring and put our lives at risk.
This is not the first incident that has posed a risk to residents and yet we have not had the information available to enable us to make decisions and judgements on the information available.
Remember we can only rely on ourselves, because the information being provided by those meant to be protect us is sadly lacking from the technology point of view.