The risk of devastating fires over the Australian summer will always be a threat, though technology has given us new tools so people can stay informed. One such option is the Victorian Government’s FireReady app, which includes features such as a live incident map, “watch zones” and warnings from relevant organisations such as the Country Fire Authority. However, FireReady has recently copped flak for reporting false positives.
An article on The Age points out one particular incident where a user was informed by the app that a fire was within a few kilometres of their location, when in reality this was not the case. How exactly does an inaccurate report occur?
Triple-zero calls are the source of information and the priority is on speed, rather than veracity. From The Age:
It means a dust cloud could be logged as a fire if a caller mistakenly reports that.
[Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley] says it’s important people get the earliest possible information, but it’s difficult to do with 100 per cent accuracy.
“As a fire is reported we put it out there, but it might not be in the exact location and therefore people would say it is inaccurate,” he told Fairfax radio on Friday.
Lapsley goes on to say that the service should “make sure” there’s more human intervention in the system so that reports are verified before being sent out.
It’s not the first time the app has been criticised, with the story mentioning the switch to Apple Maps caused some problems and an incorrect fire warning went out to 500,000 users in late 2013.