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Public to have their say on emergency messaging standards

Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) would allow disaster messages to be sent out over smartphones, email and social media simultaneously

Australians are been urged to comment on a proposed standard for national emergency messaging systems called Common Alerting Protocol (CAP).

CAP would allow emergency messages to be sent out simultaneously over a number of different warning systems including radio, television, smartphones, email and social media.

Minister for Emergency Management, Robert McClelland, said in a statement that the system was needed due to the devastating disaster season in 2011 where events such as Cyclone Yasi caused havoc in Queensland.

"Input from the community is vital in ensuring the new standard is tailored to Australia's unique emergency management environment, so I encourage anyone with an interest in emergency messaging to provide their feedback on the draft protocol," he said.

"That includes the general public, industry representatives and emergency management organisations."

The public review period will be open until 20 January, 2012 and submissions can be made on the Attorney General's website.

This follows the rollout on 9 December of the DisasterWatch app for both iPhone and Android smartphones by McClelland.

At the time, he said the smartphone application would have the latest public information about disaster events via direct feeds from official state, territory and national sources.

State governments have also called for better emergency messaging systems. A review of the 2010-11 floods in Victoria urged the Victorian government to ramp up its use of social media with the establishment of a standard social media policy to underpin its emergency warning and public information system.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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