Monday, August 17, 2009

Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Interim Report

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Interim Report was released today. The recommendations relating to the use of ICT, the Internet and the web are well thought out. The report is in the form of a set of reasonably well formatted, efficiently web pages.

The report executive summary scored 32 out of 100 on the W3C mobileOK Checker, which is better than many web pages. One flaw is that images for the report have been marked with hyperlinks labelled "CLICK FOR IMAGE". It would have been better to include a small preview image or have a link on the caption of the image. The executive summary failed an automated web accessibility test (WCAG 2) with 517 problems, which are easily correctable.
ICT related recommendations:
  • RECOMMENDATION 4.5: The State ensure that the Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) be used in Victoria to precede each bushfire warning or group of warnings for bushfires that are dangerous or extremely dangerous, particularly for a fire that is burning out of control and poses a threat to human life, subject to appropriate limits on the maximum frequency of use.
  • RECOMMENDATION 4.8: The Australian Government, Council of Australian Governments and the State determine whether it is technically possible to implement the second phase of the national telephony-based warning system (that is, the delivery of warning messages to mobile phones based on the physical location of a handset at the time of the emergency) with a view to implementation for the 2009–10 bushfire season.
  • RECOMMENDATION 5.2: The Bureau of Meteorology include the Forest Fire Danger Index and the Grass Fire Danger Index in its fire weather warnings and general weather forecasts on its website and in material distributed to the media.
  • RECOMMENDATION 5.3: The State ensure that a single, multi-agency portal for bushfire information be established that uploads information simultaneously to both CFA and DSE websites.

No comments: