Emergency Broadcasting in Australia

Emergency Fire Warning ticker during the Women’s ODI on 7Mate Tasmania


ABC upgrades emergency services

The ABC has announced upgrades to its emergency services in preparation for this year’s emergency summer season.

The ABC’s Managing Director David Anderson today launched the broadcaster’s new Emergency website (abc.net.au/emergency) which aggregates information from key national and state emergency services.

Mr Anderson said last summer’s horrific bushfire season showed that Australians turned to the ABC in record numbers to stay informed and to keep safe.

“The ABC was named the nation’s most trusted source of emergency information* and as we move towards summer we have directed every available resource to our emergency services.

“We understand the advice that cyclones and floods may be greater risks than fires this summer and we have been working with emergency agencies to give Australians the best information possible.”

Mr Anderson was speaking at a special broadcast from Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast to mark the recommissioning of the region’s ABC local radio transmission mast, which was burnt out on 31 December 2019.

The new mast at Mt Wandera, near Mogo, was switched on in recent days and provides stronger ABC Television and Radio coverage to the greater Batemans Bay region.

The ABC’s emergency website allows users to search for nearby incidents; check on emergency events in other locations around the country; and connects the user with their nearest local ABC Radio station.

ABC Local Radio remains the remains the single most important means of delivering emergency information and warnings to local communities, particularly as an emergency event is developing.

The ABC Bushfire Impact Research was conducted by Ruby Cha Cha between 17-27 March 2020. It involved a survey of 1630 people (aged 18-75 years).


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ABC adds to Emergency Broadcasting in readiness for 2021/2022 season

The ability to access a wide range of emergency information in one source and a post-disaster podcast series produced in partnership with Australian Red Cross and Melbourne University are part of a suite of new ABC content that will help Australians prepare for emergencies this summer.

The ABC’s Emergency website now features a unique interactive incident map that aggregates information from key emergency and support services including rural and regional fire services, state emergency services and the Bureau of Meteorology, allowing users to check emergency events in their locality as well as in other locations around the country.

Complementing its emergency broadcasting services, the ABC today launched a new 15-part podcast series After the Disaster , which helps people navigate the aftermath of a disaster and the challenges they face.

The Head of ABC Regional, Rural and Emergency, Hugh Martin, said the ABC was continually looking for ways to improve and extend its emergency broadcast services to meet the increased demand from communities affected by extreme weather events.

“We know people turn to the ABC to get critical information and we are there, with them, as the come together and rebuild after a disaster.

“We have increased our national emergency broadcast team for the summer, based in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia and are well prepared for whatever this season will bring,” Mr Martin said. “We have also integrated our national emergency team with our regional and capital city teams who are the ones with the expert local knowledge. In an emergency, your local radio station remains the most important source of information.”

Mr Martin also announced that ABC Emergency information would be available on Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker from next month.

“Alexa users will soon be able to quickly access emergency information in their locality as well as check on emergencies in more than 15,000 individual locations across the country.”

Host of After the Disaster and Australian Red Cross’ National Recovery Advisor, Kate Brady said: “After disasters, there is just so much to take in and so many things that need your attention. It can be overwhelming to figure out how to get the information you need.

“Podcasts are a great medium for a lot of people as you can access them when and where you want. After a disaster it can be really difficult for some people to concentrate on written information, so audio is a great alternative.”

You can find After the Disaster on the ABC listen app or wherever you get your podcasts.

Also in partnership with Australian Red Cross, the ABC has developed the Stay Connected Toolkit to help communities prepare for emergencies. Available via the Red Cross and ABC Emergency websites, the important resource offers practical tips including knowing your neighbours and connecting with your local ABC Radio station and ABC Emergency as key steps in any emergency plan.

This Sunday 26 September at 8.40pm, the ABC premieres its six-part series FIRES on ABC TV and ABC iview. Inspired by true events, FIRES is a serialised anthology about the experiences of everyday people at the front line of the devastating fires of the 2019-2020 Australian summer.

Filmed in Melbourne and regional Victoria earlier this year, the series honours the experiences of the many people affected by these fires. It acknowledges the losses suffered and the ways people came together in the face of a devastating natural disaster.

The series will be accompanied by a wide range of support and referral services.


ABC Emergency Broadcasting for 2021/22 season

ABC teams have spent the winter months training and preparing for the summer peak of bushfire and storm activity while the expansion of reporters in rural and regional areas means comprehensive emergency broadcasting services for local communities.

On Monday (22 November) the ABC is launching its new campaign to highlight emergency broadcasting services ahead of the 2021/22 bushfire season and to reinforce the ABC’s role as a key source of information during extreme weather events.

Audiences will be reminded of the ABC’s role as an emergency broadcaster and the support it provides to affected communities, emergency response organisations and community groups.

Speaking at an event at Heyfield in East Gippsland, ABC Managing Director David Anderson said it is important Australians know they can turn to the ABC in times of emergency.

“Independent research commissioned following the Black Summer bushfires showed that not only was the ABC the most trusted source of information during an emergency, but lives were saved as a result of people acting on information we provided,” Mr Anderson said.

“One in two Australians say they have used the ABC as their main source of information during a crisis.

“We know that for many people, when digital and telecommunications in an emergency fail, ABC Local Radio is the only way to access timely information to help them survive.”

Mr Anderson was joined in Heyfield by the Hon Darren Chester MP, Country Fire Authority brigades from Heyfield and Maffra, State Emergency Service (SES) representatives, Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and other community representatives.

The ABC launched its campaign in East Gippsland, an area particularly hard hit by bushfires and floods. According to figures from the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, 63 per cent or almost 10,000 square kilometres of bushland and forest in East Gippsland was burned in the 2019/20 fires. More than 60,000 people are estimated to have evacuated East Gippsland with a $125 million hit to the East Gippsland economy.

The campaign will run across all ABC platforms focusing on connectedness and preparedness during emergency events.

“Since the bushfires of 2019/2020 we have continually looked at ways in which we can improve and extend our emergency broadcast services to meet the increased demand from communities affected by extreme weather events,” Mr Anderson said.

“This summer we have introduced new measures and ABC content that will help Australians prepare for emergencies. We have increased the number of staff in our national emergency broadcast team in readiness for this summer – based in Vic, QLD, NSW, SA, WA.

“We have spent the downtime over the winter months training almost 300 Local Radio staff – to get them ready for emergency broadcasting – refreshing best practices in EB communications on radio and on social media and in our dealings with emergency services.

“Last weekend was our busiest of this season – with floods in three states and emergency fires in WA.

“With a La Nina alert issued by the BOM we are seeing a much wetter start to this season, with flooding already comparable to those seen in 2016. Almost 70 per cent of our EB coverage since July has been connected to the threats posed by flooding.

“But the unpredictability of the weather means we must be prepared for any emergency situation.”

The ABC has made a number of improvements to its emergency broadcasting services including creating an interactive incident map on its emergency website, making emergency information available on Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker, developed a Stay Connected Toolkit in partnership with Australian Red Cross to prepare for emergencies, and produced a new 15-part podcast series After the Disaster, which helps people navigate the aftermath of a disaster and the challenges they face.

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Fire emergency warning ticker seen on Channel Ten tonight in Tasmania


ABC is broadcasting a special program covering the flooding to ABC Brisbane 612, Sunshine Coast 90.3, Gympie 95.3 and 1566, Wide Bay Burnett 100.1 and 855, Gold Coast 91.7, Darling Downs 747 and Southern Downs 104.9.


I wonder if any AM broadcasts will be impacted by the flooding in SEQ. Flooding is reported on Kianawah Rd Wynnum West that is opposite the 4BC/4KQ transmission site.