The company operates throughout Australia to assist disaster response efforts, and has worked to coordinate efforts throughout disasters such as Cylcone Yasi and the recent flooding in Southern Queensland. QIT+ digital media and education coordinator Pete Richards believes the win reflects the massive steps the company has taken to improve disaster management technology.
“When Cyclone Larry came through (in 2005-6), it was just pen and paper, and many jobs were missed,” Richards says. “But in a relatively short time, we’ve come a huge distance in assisting communities.
Guardian’s main feature is it’s coordination of disaster centres, which coordinate emergency services and offer direct assistance to the public with issues such as downed power lines, evacuation information, and access to medical services. Richards highlights the difficulties involved with managing these centres, which are heightened during times of crisis.
“A disaster coordination centre is not a nice place to be in cyclone or flood,” Richards says. “And some issues include jobs being lost.”
“In the Bundaberg floods for example, there were roughly 4000 jobs in the system at any particular time.”
Guardian works to manage these issues this through a number of functions, notably recording real-time emergency data, directing information through disaster coordination centres, and releasing information to the public through automated links to public facing websites, such as road closures on the Transport Main Roads website.
In addition, Guardian connects members of the public with coordination centres through its app, released last year. The app includes features such as “Job Entry, Task Management, Road Hazards and Evacuation Centre updates,” and is designed to operate functions such as data entry when offline.
Finally, Richards highlights the recent “Guardian Command” feature, which connects local disaster coordination centres to district and state centres.
“Bulletins, Request’s for Assistances and Council to Council support can now all be done instantly through Guardian,” Richards says. “Previously this process was done by faxing a document.”
“With software, while a particular solution might be great for time, to be competitive we need to update things a lot,” he says. “We’re also moving to asp.net interface at the moment, we’ve had the legacy systems for 5 years across old but moving to cutting edge technology.”