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1 March 2010
A humble tower, operated by Deakin University on Peter’s Hill, Cape Otway is playing a key role in the trial of a bushfire warning system, funded by the Federal Government.
The University’s tower and wireless link are playing host to a special sensor being used by FireWatch Australia to monitor fire conditions in the area.
The trial of FireWatch was funded by the Federal Government after the Black Saturday Bushfires. Following the fires, the Federal Member for McEwan, Fran Bailey investigated early detection fire systems technologies. 160 of the 173 bushfire deaths occurred in Ms Bailey’s electorate.
Ms Bailey suggested the Federal Government trial the FireWatch technology in the Otway region from January–April 2010.
The Director of Deakin’s Information Technology Services Division, Mr Peter Brusco, said the University’s existing microwave radio and fibre optic based network was able to be deployed in a short timeframe to enable the sensor to transmit real time information to the FireWatch control room located at the Melbourne Campus at Burwood.
“Deakin is very pleased to be able to provide technology to support such an important public safety initiative,” he said.
“When we were approached we were more than happy to assist in any way we could, particularly because the trial is based in the South West of the State, where many of our staff and students live.”
Mr Brusco also said that the IT Services Division had also been able to assist FireWatch in setting up access to technology such as the high speed internet connectivity and phones in the control room used for the trial.
David Goodrich, CEO FireWatch Australia, said FireWatch represents the future in terms of early detection of bushfires.
“It has the ability to make the emergency services response even more effective and uses proven technology to deliver this critical information automatically, day and night, and in real-time,” he said.
“It will save lives, property and the environment.”
Mr Goodrich said it has been estimated that bushfires contribute up to one third of all of Australia’s carbon emissions each year.
Deakin Media Relations
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