If you read the comments to Warren’s amazing post of the Sydney Storm of the Decade also known as Stormageddon, you will know there is concern for our safety in these times of emergencies. In response to this, I would like to share the amazing work of the Australian government in such situations.
Unlike the United States, Australia has a system for dangerous weather and other emergencies. Every state has a State Emergency Service (SES) made up mainly of volunteers numbering in the ten thousands. When there is an emergency, ONE of the many services offered by the local SES is emergency alerts. The SES issues warnings to landline and mobile telephones linked to the addresses (properties and houses) within a geographical area affected by an emergency. Warnings are also sent to mobile telephones based on the last known location of the handset at the time of an emergency. All three of our mobile phones received the following text:
Tuesday 8:38pm: SES FLOOD EVACUATION WARNING. Residents adjacent to Manly Lagoon. Evacuation may be possible. Prepare now. Listen to the radio. www.ses.nsw.gov.au Tel 132500
The SES then went door to door of every home in the evacuation area and spoke to the occupants. We were one of those homes. The SES recorded our current details, they wanted an address and phone number of where we would go if the evacuation became mandatory (also leaving current information on the closest evacuation centre) and asked for our permission to give out details should someone call them looking for us…i.e. like YOU, Papa! (New South Wales State Emergency Service may be reached from outside the country at +61 2 6261 3305)
When the evacuation alert was lifted, all three of our phones received the following text:
NSW SES All clear for residents adjacent to Manly Lagoon. No further flood threat. www.ses.nsw.gov.au Tel 132500
So as you can see, Australia has an amazing emergency system in place. Granted if the emergency were a tsunami, the previous process would probably happen simultaneously and with more SES personnel going door to door. Mads is never far from her mobile therefore she would receive the immediate text of an impending tsunami. If she were at school, the school is equipped to handle any and all emergencies and has processes and procedures in place for such emergencies. In my case (and if Mads were with me) I would follow the directions given by the SES in the emergency text. Less than one block from our home is a hill with an elevation level of 40+ metres. I’m not saying that elevation solves the problem but it is a place to start. Warren will receive the same text plus he would probably be the safest as he works on high floors in the CBD’s tallest buildings. As far as getting home, the Sydney Harbour is not the ONLY way to get to the Northern Beaches. There are ways to go inland to the west, then go north and come back east to the Northern Beaches.
It is all doable and in the end, it WILL all work out.