Video Campaign: Emergency broadcast 19/04/202226/04/20221 Comment Philippa McDonald highlights the vital work of the ABC in an emergency – fire, flood or other disaster – without extra funding and at a time when the ABC budget continues to shrink. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Like most emergencies, the electricity is switched off for safety reasons. Mobile phones stop working because the batteries the the telco base station towers go flat after around 3 hours. There are so many towers, it is an impossible and can be a dangerous task to supply generators to keep them working.
During the Lismore flood, a flood alert was cancelled to be reinstated during the night when most were asleep.
Whilst this area is covered by ABC local radio on FM, it doesn’t wake up those who are threatened.
Digital Radio Mondiale and the DAB+ used in capital cities are capable of waking radios in a defined area, waking the potential victims with an alert “siren”, set the volume to loud and make an announcement from the program source. The rest of the audience can continue undisturbed. In addition the radio can display a map of the affected area, transmit indexed detailed text instructions and lastly in vehicles, update the navigation system as to police closed roads. This will cause the navigation system to find alternative routes.
In addition they also have controlled access, where only receivers with the encryption key can decode messages which is particularly useful to crews in fires in hilly terrain where UHF two-way radio coverage is patchy.
Both digital systems can be used to transmit all 18 ABC/SBS programs from a single transmitter which will save the ABC a lot of money. Whilst DAB+ is good in high population density areas such as capital cities DRM can cover much larger areas per transmitter.