Sunshine Coast Council wins national disaster resilience award

The development of an innovative disaster hub that delivers real-time information on disasters to reduce public risk has resulted in Sunshine Coast Council winning a 2016 Resilient Australia Award.

The win was announced at a national awards ceremony hosted by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience in Melbourne last night.

Sponsored by the Federal Attorney-General’s Department and delivered in conjunction with the states and territories, the awards recognise individuals, groups or organisations that demonstrate excellence and innovation in projects that help communities to be better prepared and more disaster resilient.

The SCC Disaster Hub gathers disaster intelligence from numerous sources to improve decision making for council, first-response agencies and community members. It provides comprehensive real-time information that can be accessed from any internet-connected device before, during and after disaster events.

John Gallina and Shirley Hall accept the award
John Gallina and Shirley Hall accept the award

Director of the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience Dr John Bates, said the hub was an exceptional initiative by Sunshine Coast Council.

“The SCC Disaster Hub brings together critical information from council and external sources and in the process builds community resilience,” Dr Bates said.

“It raises community awareness to natural hazards and risks, and provides essential information to protect Sunshine Coast communities during emergency events.

“Importantly, it is a disaster platform that can be configured to meet the needs of any council and can be used by other organisations.”

Development of the project involved consultation and collaboration between council’s disaster management and information technology teams, hydrologists, engineers, emergency services, media and members of the Sunshine Coast community.

“The SCC Disaster Hub connects council, disaster agencies and the community in the united goal of safety and preparedness before, during and after disaster events,” said Sunshine Coast Council disaster management coordinator John Gallina.

“Real-time information delivered through the hub, reduces public risk from hazards such as flash flooding, storms, cyclones, east coast lows, bushfires, earthquakes and landslides.

“It enables location specific impact assessments to be collated and communicated in minutes, delivering vital information to protect life, property and the environment.”

Launched in 2014, the hub has the ability to automatically capture and manage information. The project entered its Stage 4 development phase in July 2016 to meet the demand for even greater functionality.

A key innovation is the use of geofencing technology to produce instant disaster impact profiles for any specified location. During Tropical Cyclone Marcia in 2015 the SCC Disaster Hub received more than 293,000 page views.

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