16 Aug 2010

New disaster warning device being tested for Pacific

11:11 am on 16 August 2010

A new disaster warning device using radio transmission to alert and inform people in a mass emergency is being developed for possible use in the Pacific.

The Yellow Bird Alert uses a wake-up radio tone to activate a flashing light and siren and to turn on emergency broadcast information.

A former director general of Emergency Management Australia, David Templeman, has been involved in developing the prototype and presented to a meeting of disaster risk managers from around the Pacific in Suva last week.

Mr Templeman says interest in the device, inspired by the canary in the coal mine, was very encouraging.

"Whether it's bush fire, whether its flood, even the situation following tsunami, all those sorts of situations, it has relevance to every hazard. But more importantly, not only can it be dealt with and used in the context of warning people, this is an arrangement whereby we can get rapid information to people in a recovery situation."

David Templeman says he hopes to secure funding for trials in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.