Townsville City Council signs up to the Early Warning Network

After lengthy evaluation and evidencing the capability of the Early Warning Network first hand, the Townsville City Council has opted to help protect their residents by adopting and supporting the EWN system in the community. The council with EWN are offering local residents an extra layer of protection for the upcoming cyclone season, with the opportunity to sign up for the new emergency alert system. Other Councils are now also trialling the system.

"The outcome from this is a community more resilient to natural hazards and other emergencies." Kerry Plowright, Managing Director of the Early Warning Network says.

Townsville City Council are urging residents to sign up for emergency alerts on the Early Warning Network. The system will enable the Local Disaster Management Group to send out alerts to people in the direct path of a severe weather event. Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group chair, Cr Les Tyrell, said the service would be free for residents and operate as an opt-in system.

"Under this system, you simply need to decide how you wish to be reached, whether it be through SMS, landline phones, pagers or email. You can choose one option or the whole lot."

Cr Tyrell said residents would only receive emergency warnings if they lived in an area where they faced a direct and imminent threat of a natural disaster such as a cyclone, hailstorms or bushfires.

"We won't be issuing an alert every time a cyclone is hovering off the Queensland coast, but if the information we receive indicates a particular area of the city is likely to be affected, then we'll issue advice on actions people should consider."

"This may include information about evacuations."

"The Victorian bushfires and other disasters in recent years have only served to emphasise the need for such a system, and given there's already a private sector service available, we think it's in the interests of the community to use it.

"Getting an immediate message out to the community can be difficult, particularly during the night, however this system will give us a better chance of doing exactly that." Cr Tyrell said.

EWN is the worlds only location based early warning system for severe weather events and is easily the most experienced early warning system in Australia. The service has been in continuous operation since 2007 producing outstanding results in the aim of protecting life and property. A quick read of the feedback from some of EWN's members is testament to that success.

EWN membership growth is set to hit one hundred thousand not long after Christmas with a pronounced 'J curve' already established. EWN has never advertised, but word of mouth is clearly accelerating the rate at which people sign up to the service.

"This word of mouth is largely driven by our member's experiences and how much they value the service." Says Kerry Plowright, "In a recent survey 73% of our members say it has already helped protect them from property damage. Our members have learned quickly our alerts mean business. When asked what they did when they received an alert from EWN, 92% said they told others and 95% of them took some sort of action including modifying movements, cleaning up and moving animals, cars and property. This response tells you something, quite simply the service works exceptionally well."

Kerry Plowright is pleased that EWN's capabilities are being recognized and believes the council provides a great example to others about acting on risks before it's too late. "Townsville City Council has shown a great deal of initiative and leadership in taking action to help protect their residents. I think anyone living in the Townsville district should be pleased that their council doesn't wait timidly to act or wait to follow others, but instead takes action. After the Victorian bushfires we all know that waiting until too late comes with a price."

EWN - The Early Warning Network

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