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Web 2.0 in Government Conference 2009 Bushfire 2.0   Case study: online response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires DARREN WH...
What I’ll be covering in this session… <ul><li>A quick overview of the bushfires </li></ul><ul><li>Victoria’s emergency ma...
Just so we’re all on the same page…
But first, a little background… <ul><li>Victoria’s Justice Department </li></ul><ul><li>About me </li></ul><ul><li>Victori...
Let’s first pause a moment… <ul><li>173 </li></ul>
 
The wost natural disaster in Australia’s history Victorian Fire Map 9 February 2009, dse.vic.gov.au
Yarra Valley, Black Saturday, Flickr
Labertouche, Black Saturday, Drouin West CFA
Gippsland, Black Saturday, Flickr
Steels Creek home, Black Saturday, Daniel Cleaveley
Tynong CFA, Black Saturday, Flickr
CFA, Black Saturday, Flickr
CFA truck, Black Saturday, Flickr
Bunyip State Forest, Black Saturday, Anthony Brownhill
Firestorm, 9 February 2009, Seven News
Yarra Valley surrounds, March 2009, Elizabeth O’Donoghue
Flowerdale, 20 February 2009, Bob Meister
Kinglake Petrol Station, 8 March 2009, Neil Creek
Marysville, 17 April 2009, Flickr
Narbethong, near Healesville, The Age
Kinglake, Aerial view, news.com.au
Emergency protocols were activated <ul><li>State-wide emergency centre (IECC) </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency information comm...
Online was going to be a major factor… <ul><li>2007 Californian Bushfires </li></ul><ul><li>Virginia Tech shootings </li><...
A small team set about trying to help <ul><li>Established operations centre </li></ul><ul><li>Looked at the evidence </li>...
The online infrastructure simply couldn’t cope <ul><li>CFA and DSE sites melted down </li></ul><ul><ul><li>80% of all gove...
<ul><li>Worked together </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinated all vic.gov online messages </li></ul><ul><li>Developed social netwo...
The idea of the widget was to divert non-urgent traffic…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It all started with a single ‘click’ <ul><li>Spread virally </li></ul><ul><li>119 installs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>websites,...
The rules have now changed <ul><li>Traditional mediums couldn’t cope </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1.5m visits to the CFA site </l...
Public support was overwhelming <ul><li>$369m raised </li></ul><ul><li>$250K+ online advertising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 m...
So what did we learn from all this? <ul><li>More likely to turn to online news and traditional media outlets for info </li...
People are looking for specific information in an emergency <ul><li>Bushfire searches fell into five categories: </li></ul...
Bushfire searches by query type (Jan-Mar 2009) Source: Hitwise, March 2009
Some things to think about <ul><li>Online is major player </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phones, radio, television </li></ul></ul><...
To wrap up and summarise… <ul><li>Provided an overview of the bushfires </li></ul><ul><li>Explained what happened in the f...
Over to you… Questions?
 
The worst natural disaster in Australia’s history <ul><li>A series of fires that ignited or started burning across Victori...
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Darren Whitelaw Web 2.0 in Government Conference 2009

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Darren Whitelaw from The Victorian Department of Justice speaking at the Frocomm Web 2.0 in Government Conference 2009

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  • I would also have added sites like fireupdates.org and the twitter feeds, i found that I could get real time info from twitter while official channels became hopelessly behind. A number of unofficial tools sprang up over the weekend that were better than what official info could provide. Also DSE site stopped working on the day.
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Darren Whitelaw Web 2.0 in Government Conference 2009

  1. 1. Web 2.0 in Government Conference 2009 Bushfire 2.0 Case study: online response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires DARREN WHITELAW Department of Justice, Victoria 24 June 2009
  2. 2. What I’ll be covering in this session… <ul><li>A quick overview of the bushfires </li></ul><ul><li>Victoria’s emergency management procedures </li></ul><ul><li>The first weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Statistics and behaviour in an emergency </li></ul><ul><li>What we learnt </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities and challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Some things to think about </li></ul><ul><li>Questions. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Just so we’re all on the same page…
  4. 4. But first, a little background… <ul><li>Victoria’s Justice Department </li></ul><ul><li>About me </li></ul><ul><li>Victoria’s integrated emergency response </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All hazards, all agencies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>60,000 CFA volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Communication, not emergency response </li></ul><ul><li>Doing more in the online space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategic online activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New Media Group. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Let’s first pause a moment… <ul><li>173 </li></ul>
  6. 7. The wost natural disaster in Australia’s history Victorian Fire Map 9 February 2009, dse.vic.gov.au
  7. 8. Yarra Valley, Black Saturday, Flickr
  8. 9. Labertouche, Black Saturday, Drouin West CFA
  9. 10. Gippsland, Black Saturday, Flickr
  10. 11. Steels Creek home, Black Saturday, Daniel Cleaveley
  11. 12. Tynong CFA, Black Saturday, Flickr
  12. 13. CFA, Black Saturday, Flickr
  13. 14. CFA truck, Black Saturday, Flickr
  14. 15. Bunyip State Forest, Black Saturday, Anthony Brownhill
  15. 16. Firestorm, 9 February 2009, Seven News
  16. 17. Yarra Valley surrounds, March 2009, Elizabeth O’Donoghue
  17. 18. Flowerdale, 20 February 2009, Bob Meister
  18. 19. Kinglake Petrol Station, 8 March 2009, Neil Creek
  19. 20. Marysville, 17 April 2009, Flickr
  20. 21. Narbethong, near Healesville, The Age
  21. 22. Kinglake, Aerial view, news.com.au
  22. 23. Emergency protocols were activated <ul><li>State-wide emergency centre (IECC) </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency information committee (EMJPIC) </li></ul><ul><li>Fire Communication Taskforce. </li></ul>Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System Chief Fire Officer
  23. 24. Online was going to be a major factor… <ul><li>2007 Californian Bushfires </li></ul><ul><li>Virginia Tech shootings </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese Earthquake 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>LAFD, Red-Cross, traffic, CFA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No 1 trending topic on 9/2 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Emergency school closures </li></ul><ul><li>Online most preferred channel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visits to government sites up 10.4% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outstripping US and UK usage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Referrals from social media sites up 16.1% on last year </li></ul></ul>Hitwise Australia, March 2009
  24. 25. A small team set about trying to help <ul><li>Established operations centre </li></ul><ul><li>Looked at the evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Defined the objective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote key messages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage donations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alleviate operational websites. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 26. The online infrastructure simply couldn’t cope <ul><li>CFA and DSE sites melted down </li></ul><ul><ul><li>80% of all government traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ CFA’ the fastest moving search term February 2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CFA visits accounted for 5% of all government traffic across Australia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Red Cross donation page clogged </li></ul><ul><li>IECC systems frantic, online secondary </li></ul><ul><li>Bushfire hotline – 9,000 calls per hour </li></ul><ul><li>Impact on 000 </li></ul><ul><li>International traffic magnified problems </li></ul><ul><li>Web taskforce formed. </li></ul>
  26. 27. <ul><li>Worked together </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinated all vic.gov online messages </li></ul><ul><li>Developed social networking widget </li></ul><ul><li>Set up SMS system </li></ul><ul><li>Modified sig files to spread key messages </li></ul><ul><li>Listened and reacted to call centre traffic. </li></ul>We used fast, low-cost ways to react
  27. 28. The idea of the widget was to divert non-urgent traffic…
  28. 39. It all started with a single ‘click’ <ul><li>Spread virally </li></ul><ul><li>119 installs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>websites, blogs, facebook sites and other social networking pages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A total of 85,994 views </li></ul><ul><li>Around one-quarter interact with it </li></ul><ul><li>26,373 latest news </li></ul><ul><li>1,382 Flickr </li></ul><ul><li>2,990 Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>5,504 donate site. </li></ul>
  29. 40. The rules have now changed <ul><li>Traditional mediums couldn’t cope </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1.5m visits to the CFA site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The cloud and SAAS came to the rescue </li></ul>
  30. 41. Public support was overwhelming <ul><li>$369m raised </li></ul><ul><li>$250K+ online advertising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 million ads Ninemsn and news.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$30k from Google </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Television, radio ads produced. </li></ul>
  31. 42. So what did we learn from all this? <ul><li>More likely to turn to online news and traditional media outlets for info </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ABC News Online, Google News Australia, and The Age </li></ul></ul><ul><li>One million page views on the google maps </li></ul><ul><li>Need for hyper-response </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Searches for “bushfire” dropped four weeks after the crisis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chain-of-command </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use your networks, spread the word </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t claim the space others will. </li></ul>Source: Hitwise, March 2009
  32. 43. People are looking for specific information in an emergency <ul><li>Bushfire searches fell into five categories: </li></ul><ul><li>Appeal (fundraising) </li></ul><ul><li>Education (survival) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>News and media; Government 8.9%, Wikipedia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General (Victorian Bushfires) </li></ul><ul><li>Informational (news, maps) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CFA, ABC News, Google News, DSE, The Age </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Services (CFA, DSE, government agencies). </li></ul>
  33. 44. Bushfire searches by query type (Jan-Mar 2009) Source: Hitwise, March 2009
  34. 45. Some things to think about <ul><li>Online is major player </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phones, radio, television </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t underestimate the power of crowd sourcing </li></ul><ul><li>Who ‘owns’ your information? </li></ul><ul><li>Can your infrastructure cope? What’s the alternative? </li></ul><ul><li>How’s your real time evaluation? </li></ul><ul><li>Move fast to harness public support </li></ul><ul><li>Can’t sit back and wait to be asked. </li></ul>
  35. 46. To wrap up and summarise… <ul><li>Provided an overview of the bushfires </li></ul><ul><li>Explained what happened in the first weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Identified some challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Shared some of the learnings </li></ul><ul><li>Left with some things to think about… </li></ul>
  36. 47. Over to you… Questions?
  37. 49. The worst natural disaster in Australia’s history <ul><li>A series of fires that ignited or started burning across Victoria on Saturday 7 February 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Total of 173 people killed, another 500 injured </li></ul><ul><li>Up to 400 individual fires recorded </li></ul><ul><li>Started with worst-ever bushfire conditions recorded – intense heat (40°c), strong winds up to 120kph, dry bushland </li></ul><ul><li>More than 4,000 firefighters responded </li></ul><ul><li>Wiped out or severely damaged towns of Kinglake, Marysville, Narbethong, Strathewen and Flowerdale </li></ul><ul><li>Took nearly one month to extinguish all the fires </li></ul><ul><li>Destroyed 2,200 homes. </li></ul>

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