App woes – EmergencyAus

emergencyausAbout six months ago, I installed an app on my phone called EmergencyAus. It’s supposed to provide an up-to-date list of every event, of any sort, that happens in Victoria.

More importantly, the app also allows me to set a 5 km watch zone around my house. In theory, if anything happens within that watch zone, an alert is sent to my phone.

Despite not being obsessed with ringtones, I set a special one, just for those alerts, and for a while there, I jumped every time I heard it go off. I’d grab my phone and feverishly tap the little red indicator to see what was happening.

But then an odd thing began to happen – I started to relax. I’d still check every warning about trees down, or accidents, or the odd fire, but I was no longer a mumbling mess. You see I was starting to trust that the app would give me that little bit of advanced warning no one got on Black Saturday.

The events of Black Saturday have dimmed in the consciousness of the general public, but for me, every summer since has been a repeat of the controlled terror I felt that day. Not because I’m terrified of the fire itself, but because I’m terrified of not knowing.

You see, that was the worst thing about Black Saturday for me, the not knowing. I sat here with the fire shutters down, eyes glued to the CFA website, with 774 blaring in the background, completely unaware that people were burning just up the road in St Andrews and Strathewen. I didn’t learn about those deaths until the next day. Only then did it become obvious that the authorities had not had a clue where the fire was, or where it was going. And because they did not know, no one received the kind of warning that might have saved lives.

The EmergencyAus app promised to provide the advanced warning we did not get on Black Saturday. And as I began to trust the app, I started to relax. I even began writing again because I could listen to my own music, instead of listening to cricket commentary on radio 774.

But that all ended this morning. The phone is still sitting on my desk, but I no longer trust it, or the EmergencyAus app.

Why? Because I checked the website this morning, and discovered that a bushfire has been burning 4.7 km from my home since about 5 pm yesterday and I knew nothing about it.

The bushfire is in parkland to the west of me, and is listed as ‘under control’, but I’m still devastated. Why did I receive no warning? Did I simply miss it?

I checked back through all the notifications on my phone, and nope, no warning about that fire. Then I checked the app’s event list and yes, the fire did appear there. So why did I get no warning? And how many others have I missed?

I’ve emailed the company about this ‘problem’, but I don’t expect an answer any time soon. And I don’t expect to be reassured when I do receive one; computer glitches that mess with your work are one thing, glitches like this one are potentially life threatening.

I’ll update this post as soon as I receive a reply from the EmergencyAus company, but in the meantime, can anyone recommend another app that does the same thing, but better?

Oh, and it’s New Year’s Eve morning here in Australia so… Happy New Year in advance.


About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

10 responses to “App woes – EmergencyAus

  • alexlaybourne

    Technology is a pain that way at times. Maybe there is a ‘hidden’ setting somehwere for certain things also. I have not idea, I don’t really do apps yet. I behind in the times.

    Sorry to hear about the first. I hope they get it under control.


  • davidprosser

    Happy New Year beautiful lady. I hope you find a new app that gives you confidence again, an that lets you sleep at night knowing you’re safe..
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx


  • Candy Korman

    I’m curious about their response. The app is NOT living up to its specs and it should.

    I live in a very busy city with lots of things happening all the time. The local NPR (National Public Radio) station and a city-centric cable TV station, cover a great deal, but sometimes I hear sirens or helicopters and wonder what the heck is happening within a few blocks of my building. Still, sometimes the first word I have about a big, violent, scary, etc. local happening is a call from my mom or a post on twitter.

    When an very unusual earthquake hit the entire East Coast and shook the city, I thought I’d just had too much coffee when the room swayed. I didn’t realize it was an earthquake until I saw it on Facebook. LOL… sometimes the internet gets it right.


    • acflory

      -giggles- You must drink very powerful coffee! But yes, I have to agree about the ability to keep in touch with what’s happening. I tend to disappear down the rabbit hole when I’m working and get a heck of a surprise when I surface to discover the world has been busy while I’ve been ‘gone’.


  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    I have a hard time trusting technology. Too much can go wrong – and in your case, does.


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