| 29.01,20. 06:19 PM |
Australians mistake emergency alerts for scams
ACT Bushfires: Emergency warning for bushfire burning near Canberra
Some Australians are ignoring emergency alerts during disasters over fears they are being scammed, an emergency communications expert says.
Alerts with a website link are often mistaken as a scam or computer virus by Australia's youngest and oldest residents, Queensland University of Technology Associate Professor Amisha Mehta says.
It is the latest challenge facing emergency authorities during times of natural disasters, Professor Mehta says.
She said effective communication has never been more important given the scale of the bushfires and floods affecting Australians.
The toughest challenge is effectively and quickly articulating information in a foolproof way, while also ensuring it reaches all its intended recipients.
"While we have better communication systems we face a challenge if we lose our telecommunications," Professor Mehta said.
Radio is still the most effective form of communication in a disaster, she said, but is not the main source of information for many.
The past 12 months have yielded some success for communication experts.
Professor Mehta told AAP that authorities are improving messages to affected communities, making them more concise and direct.
However there is still a challenge communicating to people the unpredictable nature of fires.
These issues will be discussed on Friday during a bushfire forum held at the Queensland University of Technology.