Blazes may stop mobile alerts
THE NSW Rural Fire Service has reminded those of us becoming increasingly tied to mobile phones as our primary source of information that they might not be available in an emergency.
After fires knocked out 600 landlines and multiple mobile base stations in Tasmania at the weekend, telcos will be keeping a close eye on bushfires in NSW.
No outages had been reported in NSW as of 4pm Tuesday on the landline and mobile networks of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
The RFS said not to rely on a single service for information in an emergency. In the event of network outages, which would affect emergency alerts sent to landlines and mobiles, it recommends checking the radio, television and internet for bushfire alerts.
In addition to the National Early Warning alert system, Optus uses a location-based SMS alert system in emergencies. Telstra recommends keeping multiple spare chargers and batteries for mobile phones in case of evacuation. They also ask that people in affected areas keep calls to a minimum so other people can get through to emergency services if necessary.
People living in rural areas should consider a satellite phone or Yagi antenna, which boosts reception, Telstra said. A spokeswoman for Vodafone said they were keeping a close eye on the situation.