As California this week suffers its deadliest blaze in history, one that’s already claimed dozens of lives as well as destroyed the homes of celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Neil Young and Gerard Butler, we are reminded of the devastation that such wildfires can cause.
With what looks to be a dry, hot summer fast approaching here in Australia, we sat down with Telstra Area General Manager Steve Tinker to discuss Telstra’s bushfire communication strategy and what action we can take to best look after ourselves and our loved ones here in Bendigo.
It’s no secret that both communication and information is integral during emergencies. Understanding this, Telstra are putting plans in place across all areas of their business to deal with worst-case scenarios.
For example, they’re cleaning up the exchange and mobile base station yards from long grass to minimise the risk of critical infrastructure, assessing back-up power and access strategies at their exchanges, and are checking their emergency power plant equipment is refuelled and functioning correctly.
“One of the key things is to prepare as if you expect there to be limited access to mains power.”
- Steve Tinker, Telstra Area General Manager
As far as action we can each personally take to establish our own communications plan in the event of an out-of-control bush blaze, we should consider that it’s often our home’s mains power that is affected.
That means that we shouldn’t rely too heavily on our fixed line internet modem for access to the NBN, but rather ensure we have a mobile phone with an alternative charger (e.g. a backup battery or car charger) at the ready should an alternative method of communication be required.
It’s also vital to have the latest version of the emergency apps, such as the Vic Emergency app, downloaded and installed on our phone, as well as access to a battery-powered radio to keep in contact with emergency broadcasters. Also, take note of local information services – these could come in very handy.
By being savvy and planning ahead, we can do our best to prevent the devastation that bushfire season can cause. For more information, visit one of Bendigo’s local Telstra Stores today.
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