Australian Benchmark for Emergency Alert Success

We just came across this report, entitled “Bushfire In Australia”, which discusses how to prepare folks in Australia for wildfires near homes in the bush country.   Since wildfires are common in the western US, we thought it was interesting.  And this quote caught our eye:

According to the BRCIM 2014 Annual Report (Bushfire Royal Commission Implementation Monitor, 2014) the Emergency Alert (EA) has been used by emergency services across Australia for 1,277 campaigns to send almost 11 million warning messages with an overall success rate of 67 per cent. Since its release in October 2013, the LBS has been used in seven jurisdictions for 176 campaigns to send in excess of one million warning messages with an average delivery success rate of 94 per cent.

By Emergency Alert, they mean something similar to the Hyper-Reach and other systems in the US.  As described, it seems that these are run by the telephone companies down under.

The LBS system sounds a little like WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts), although the system apparently sends individual SMS messages, as described:

The Emergency Alert (EA) system has been operational since December 2009, with subsequent version upgrades. It has two capabilities to send warning messages to those in areas at risk:
1. Location Based Number Store (LBNS) that delivers voice messages to landlines and text messages to mobile phones based on the registered service address in Australia, and
2. Location Based Solution (LBS) that delivers text messages to mobiles based on the last known location of the handset.
LBNS applies to all customers of the three Australian network providers, Telstra, Optus and VHA, within their areas of coverage, including international visitors roaming on the three networks.

Two items stand out:

  1. First, the delivery to landline and mobile phones based on service address has a success rate of about 67%.
  2. Second, using “last known address” for mobile phones has a success rate of about 94%.

This makes a lot of sense to us.  Calling a landline means calling a device which is often separated from the human target you want t communicate with (e.g., they’re not home.)  Since people usually have their mobile phone with them, texting the mobile directly is going to be much more effective.


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