Nuff Nuff

Saturday, March 27, 2010

When is an Official Warning not an Official Warning


3AW Issued an 'Official Warning' Yesterday for the Western Part of Victoria for Sunday. Which you can View Here

An Exert --> "Certainly on Sunday we need Victorians in the western part of the state to be prepared and alert," State Control Centre spokesperson Caroline Douglass said. "People need to understand that even towards the end of the bushfire season the risk of a significant fire is still very real."

This morning, Saturday the 27th March 2010, I checked both the CFA and the DSE sites for media releases or anything that might indicate a danger for people in the western part of the state, and other than the entry on the 3AW blog titled "Extreme fire conditions on Sunday" I am unable to find any reference.

Remember I am only an ordinary resident of the state, I could live anywhere in the state and yet I hear (and see) that a major player in the radio news field issues a warning for an area, that I may live in, may be travelling through, or perhaps have family in, yet I am unable to follow this threat up with either CFA or DSE. Nothing in media releases. nothing on the home page.

It feels like mis-information all over again.

The BoM (Bureau of Meteorology) is showing what appears to be some weather activity to the West of the state which will likely impact the state late Saturday or Sunday. The Official Warning also states "That weather pattern, combined with a strong chance of dry lightning, presents a significant chance of fires."

I don't like putting the cart before the horse, neither do I believe in crying wolf, but it would seem that the CFA/DSE and media outlets either go into overkill or they completely smother the warnings.

I know the Government thinks that most people are idiots and can't look after themselves, but seriously - don't we have the right to KNOW when we MIGHT be in danger, when OUR lives MIGHT be at risk, WHEN OUR families MIGHT be at risk?

If there is such a risk present, then perhaps the CFA/DSE need to ensure that the media releases page located Here SHOULD make reference to what appears to be an official media release by a fire agency?

We have a RIGHT TO KNOW.

Look at Black Saturday, people time and time again claim that they were not warned. There were warnings three days in row that the threat of fire was imminent and yet people claim they did not hear these warnings.

We MUST BE informed, we MUST be told, we MUST Have the ability to make decisions of our OWN accord and live and die by those decisions.

Your Thoughts

And if you are wondering WHY I keep harping on lack of notification or information, this is why My Story I don't want others to have to go through what I and many 1000's of other people did on the 7th February 2009, now known as Black Saturday


Maralyn said...

So true, keep up your good work. Maybe one day they will listen to what people really need

Ewen H said...

I understand where you're coming from I-enigma but I think the issue is the construction of the 3AW news item, not the CFA/DSE.

The word "Extreme" used in the title is misleading and the article explains that the highest level was "Severe".

The official warning is also misleading. As much as the authorities are happy to get the message over in the lead up to a potentially bad day, no official warning exists per se. The addition of "Official Warning" looks like another sub-editor issue.

The real story normally unfolds at around 4pm-4:30pm on the day before when the BOM deliver the forecasts to the CFA/DSE. Once these are dissected, the media is then engaged appropriately.

If giving media agencies a heads up before a bad day on Sunday prevents landowners burning off on a benign Saturday then the CFA have done the job.

A cfaconnect article could have been appropriate though. Something for them to possible consider.

Stay safe tomorrow

tyabblemons said...

I have to agree with your belief that we deserve the most up-to-date information that technology can provide. After all, we talking about people's lives being at risk.

CFA have evolved from being a firefighting force, to be an information provider. But providing information is not their main role - the suppression of fire is their first priority.

I'm all for the CFA adopting a greater role in the provision of information to the public. But that role is not fully mandated, and until the results of the Black Saturday Royal Commission, we may not see much of an improvement in information flow. For instance, CFA produce maps of fire affected areas, but this data is not made generally available to the public. Currently, people have to make an educated guess about where the fire is and react accordingly. Further, raw data about the spread of fire is not relayed to the general public. In the current format, best we can get is a link to the point of origin of a fire.

If data about fire spread was automatically relayed to a public feed, we could be much better prepared to act.

But I digress from your point. Why isn't information about fire conditions over a weekend not published on the Friday or earlier? CFA are aware of the fire risk for this Sunday in Western Victoria, but have not felt the need to release information early. I recall that before Black Saturday, the information about the potential conditions was talked about on the Thursday and Friday prior.

We need to see 'someone' - whether it's CFA or a whole new department release quality information in a timely manner. We're living in a new era with unprecendented ability to inform people about risks like fire, but nobody has taken responsibility for the task.

It ain't so (most of the time) said...

Ewen - I completely agree - perhaps I should have opened the post with ...... when 3Aw issue it.

As I stated .......If there is such a risk present, then perhaps the CFA/DSE need to ensure that the media releases page located Here SHOULD make reference to what appears to be an official media release by a fire agency?

I said appears to be an official media release. I doubt it was official in the true sense of the word, likely there is a danger present, but not to go into overdirve and scare people into running when there is no need.

The whole problem is making sure people know when there is a real risk V a perceived risk and make sure that is clarity so that people can make decisions.

It is incidents like this that cause people to turn a blind eye and ear to any future warnings.

Thanks for comments Ewen - they are apprecaited!

It ain't so (most of the time) said...

Tyabblemons - I agree with your thoughts about CFA and their main duty being fighting fires, the DSE are in the same boat. It's not the BoM's position to advise the public of the fire danger, another agency specifically designed to encompass all three agencies would be almost a perfect fit as being the face of the fire danger threat.

Your last paragrpah says it all......."nobody has taken responsibility for the task"

NOBODY HAS STEPPED UP TO PLATE to be responsible and accountable amd that has been the case for 12 months or more. How many more have to die before someone has guts to stand up and be counted AND not have his/her orginisation butt covered and sacking him/her?

How many more?

Dragonsally said...

You are so right. Its also really concerning because of school holidays starting - I'm thinking of the number of people going camping (and who don't have local knowledge or roads, refuges and conditions) who need a reliable source of information.