Civil Defence alerting platform proves its worth

The recent tornado in Auckland provided an early test for Auckland Civil Defence's iPhone app, which alerts the public to emergencies

An electronic civil defence alerting platform proved its worth during the recent Auckland tornado, in which three people died.

Auckland Civil Defence launched the advanced iPhone application. developed by Cloud M, in September. It is designed to alert the public to emergencies, then update them during such events.

“We put out a weather alert in the morning that people acted on,” says Clive Manley, Auckland Civil Defence controller.

“One company brought all its equipment inside, which saved it from the tornado.

The Herald ran their first story based on our alert.”

The tornado struck at 12.30pm.

“We put out updates when emergency services went into action. That’s when it became an information application,” Manley says.

“We’ve had really great feedback, a mixture of phone calls, emails and third hand.”

He says the event was too small to measure any financial benefit but savings would come in the event of a major emergency when a lot of people became “misplaced” and call centres and the like became clogged up.

So far, there have been 12,000 downloads of the application.

Auckland had approached Cloud M to build the application because it wanted to engage – particularly with young people – in a very social way. It chose the iPhone to lead that. Cloud M has since built a hybrid application that any smart phone can access.

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