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Public Administration News  
Australia Shares Emergency Response Best Practices
Source: http://www.futuregov.asia
Source Date: Monday, August 19, 2013
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: Australia
Created: Aug 27, 2013

A team from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) led an Australian contingent of senior emergency response personnel in Switzerland, where more than a dozen nations gathered to share large-scale natural disaster response strategies. The highlight of the event was a simulation of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that destroyed the Swiss town of Basel in 1356. The Australian contingent used an online GIS platform from Esri Australia during the challenge to determine how public safety organisations would respond should the earthquake occur again in 2013. According to QFRS Executive Manager of Operational Capability Stephen Smith, the only technology solution they used during the challenge was a GIS-based Rapid Damage Assessment system. “During the earthquake simulation, we used it to answer crucial questions emergency response teams would face if the disaster struck today,” Smith said.


“These included where to deploy rescue workers, how to prioritise responses, how to make the most of the infrastructure that is still intact and where to set up community recovery centres.” By having such a system in place, Smith said it enabled the team to have an accurate and timely visualisation of what was occurring on the ground following the earthquake allowing the team to come up with well-informed decisions quickly. He shared that without GIS, QFRS staff would have to manually analyse different coordinates to get a true sense of the impacts of a natural disaster at exact locations. “With this technology, we don’t have to drill down deep into manual data for damage assessments during recovery phases,” he said. “A detailed picture of what we’re faced with is sitting right in front of us at our fingertips, and we can share that information instantly with other government agencies and local councils.” QFRS have been invited to share their experience in Basel at Ozri 2013, Australia’s largest spatial event.

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