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Web tool to help in emergencies and major events

AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL

MEDIA RELEASE


31 July 2006

New web tool to help in emergencies and major events

Auckland City’s access to real-time information during emergencies or in the management of major events such as the Rugby World Cup will receive a boost with the installation of a new information management software system.

The system, WebEOC, pronounced E-O-C for emergency operations centre,
came of age after the events of 9/11 in the United States which illustrated the need for live access to reliable crisis information.

Auckland City is the first local authority in New Zealand to purchase WebEOC, the world’s first web-based emergency management communications system. It will give authorised users such as the police and emergency services real-time access to constantly updated information related to civil emergencies, weather events, people and traffic movements.

Installed as part of the council’s Emergency Operations Centre, the equipment allows emergency services to have remote access to the WebEOC site to view or update information. The information can be used by contributing agencies – such as for a civil emergency, crowd control at major sport or leisure activities, motorway accidents, or weather conditions.

Auckland City’s manager, emergency management planning, Jane Lodge said that the system will be used across the council and not just for emergency operations.

“Information from WebEOC can be viewed by computer or large screen and updated remotely by laptop. It can display text, reports, graphics, maps, video and live television pictures giving real-time information,” said Ms Lodge. “It can also integrate with our

Call Centre services in managing information flow.”

One of its major attributes is its ease of use, particularly in crisis situations when multiple users with little experience of the software can be quickly brought up to speed, said Ms Lodge.

The system, used widely by federal, state and local agencies in the United States, will be installed by New Zealand company Critchlow Ltd, specialists in crisis and emergency management information systems, and the exclusive distributors of WebEOC in New Zealand, Australia, and South Asia. It will be ready for use later in the year.

Managing director Steve Critchlow said he was delighted that Auckland City had recognised WebEOC’s many applications. “I’m sure it’s going to become a critical tool

in the management of information for emergency situations or a range of
council-controlled activities.

“The feedback we’ve had from our Australian customers and emergency services has been very positive and the system has proved itself overseas with many government agencies and corporations.”

ENDS

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