Paramedics Warn Parents to Teach Kids about Emergency Phone Calls in Smartphone Age

With landline phones in the home slowly becoming outdated, do children know what to do in an emergency?

With the evolution of smartphones, the Australian Communications and Media Authority reported in 2016 that 5.78 million Australians had a mobile phone, but no fixed-line phone.

Paramedics warn parents to teach kids about emergency phone calls in smartphone age

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When children were once taught to dial triple-zero on the landline, the raft of security and user features on mobiles is adding complexity to teaching kids how to respond in an emergency.

“Once upon a time we used to just have home phone lines, and they’ve all got caller line identification,” NSW Ambulance Inspector Luke Wiseman said.

“Now that we’ve got mobile phones, it is a bit different, a little bit more challenging. They do have a lot of security around mobile devices.”

Apps helping provide digital literacy

Inspector Wiseman said emergency services were cognizant of the issue.

He said an app called Emergency + had been developed to help make it easier for kids when responding to an emergency using a smartphone.

“It actually gives your exact location as an address, it gives you your cross-street, and it also gives you a latitude and longitude, so if you are in rural and remote areas, we can actually get a latitude and longitude and then start planning how we make our way to the patient,” he said.

“With mobile phones, they actually do have a registered address. Normally if we do receive a phone call off a mobile phone, we will attend the address that is registered, but it may not be the actual place of where the emergency is.”

Inspector Wiseman said parents should also consider the language they use when explaining emergency procedures to children.

“Whilst it is a triple-zero call line, and that’s a lot of the way we reference it, particularly for younger children that are comprehending process, it is certainly ‘zero-zero-zero’ [language we should use],” he said.

“[Kids] watch a lot of other programs that are American-based, and they get quite confused regarding what is the appropriate number to call.

“We’ve got to be very articulate in saying it is ‘zero-zero-zero’ to call for help.”

This was originally published by ABC.net.au.

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Bushfires: What it Takes to be a Fire Behaviour Expert with the Rural Fire Service

Simon Heemstra has always had a fascination with fire.

But that interest turned into a career when he first witnessed a rural community in New South Wales being devastated by a bushfire in 1994.

“We had quite a lot of homes and properties that were lost in the Jannali and Como area, and I realised what a fantastic service the Rural Fire Service provides,” Dr Heemstra said.

At the time he was studying a science honours degree in vegetation mapping, and a whole area he had been monitoring was burnt.

Bushfires: What it Takes to be a Fire Behaviour Expert with the Rural Fire Service

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The event motivated him to join his local volunteer brigade and pursue a doctorate in fire mapping.

“I decided fire was a pretty interesting thing, in particular fire ecology,” Dr Heemstra said.

After 10 years as volunteer, Dr Heemstra moved behind the scenes and is currently the manager for community planning at the state headquarters of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), based in Lidcombe.

When bushlands flare up across the state, his job as a fire behaviour analyst is to predict how far the fire might spread or where embers might land, using mathematical modelling.

He collaborates with a large team — 10 on-site personnel and a further 80 statewide — as well as the multiple emergency agencies and representatives who work out of the RFS control centre.

Working together in a high-stress environment

The RFS state operations centre is a collaborative hub where fire and emergency agencies join together to look after all corners of NSW during bushfire and other disaster events.

During peak bushfire season there are hundreds of people packed into the circular room, their eyes continuously flicking between computer screens and the massive digital display board that looms above.

The display, made up of 100 screens, shows everything from maps, social media feeds, fire updates and weather charts, to live footage from crews battling fires across the state.

Key decisions about crew deployment, warning alerts and updates are made by the people in the room.

These include logistical teams that coordinate aviation units, the Bureau of Meteorology, ambulance, National Parks and Wildlife, the NSW Police Force and other emergency response experts.

This was originally published by ABC.net.au.

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New Warning That 2.7m Aussies Are Not Ready For Disaster Season

Analysts have issued fresh warnings to homeowners heading into what’s expected to be an extreme summer, after new figures showed 2.7 million Aussies weren’t disaster-ready.

Queenslanders, women, Gen Y and renters seem to the main culprits, according to new analysis from finder.com.au, which warned that 57 per cent of major cyclone damage from 2011 to 2016 was comprised of uninsured losses – a bill totalling $1.4 billion.

New warning that 2.7m Aussies are not ready for disaster season

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Queensland – where some of the worst disaster damage had occurred in the last 12 years – was the most unprepared of all the states (17 per cent), despite housing a quarter of all Australia’s flood cases.

Bessie Hassan, finder.com.au insurance expert, it was a concern that one in seven Aussies were leaving their homes exposed to disasters.

“The fact that so many Australians are unprepared in the case of a natural disaster is concerning,” she said. “Whether it’s a small investment like having an evacuation plan, or whether you’re paying for home insurance, it’s important to prepare in case of the worst.”

“With bushfire season nearly upon us, taking precautionary measures now could save potentially thousands of dollars worth of damages later.”

Ms Hassan warned homeowners to “be mindful that if the cyclone has been named, it’s usually too late to take out a home insurance policy”.

The finder.com.au analysis found women (18 per cent) were more unprepared than men (12 per cent), and Generation Y was by far the most exposed (26 per cent) of the age brackets. Nine per cent of Baby Boomers and 14 per cent of Generation X were not ready.

This was originally published by the Weekly Times Now. 

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Plans For an Overhaul of the Triple-Zero System

The triple-zero emergency service line could be set for a massive overhaul, under a new plan being explored by NSW police to allow people to text for help, send pictures and even livestream footage from critical incidents.

plans-for-an-overhaul-of-the-triple-zero-system

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Official documents refer to ‘Next Generation 000 initiatives’, which would see a system upgrade that keeps pace with community expectations by allowing people wanting help to use imagery, analytics, social media and SMS.

“The criminal element is getting smarter, so we’ve got to make sure as a criminal justice system and as a police force that the NSW Government makes themselves available to any technology that can improve the ability of police to lock up bad guys,” David Elliott, the Minister for Counter Terrorism, told TEN Eyewitness News.

“This is about the NSW police force going out to the market and seeing what benefits are out there that we’re not using at the moment. That’s something that a modern, professional, well-resourced police force should do.”

There have been calls for a modern overhaul of the system since 2014, as a working paper by the National Emergency Communications Working Group Australia and New Zealand found that one in five people already thought you could text 000 for help.

Police also want to explore geographical mapping through smartphone technology, to pinpoint callers’ locations and provide a quicker response in time-critical situations.

“Anything that’s going to allow police and emergency service workers to spend more time on the job is going to be good, and technology is doing that,” Minister Elliott said.

This was originally published by Ten Play.

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Stretchy Glue Heals Wounds in 60 Seconds

Australian and American biomedical engineers have developed a stretchy surgical glue that rapidly heals wounds, a “breakthrough” that has the potential to save lives in emergencies, its designers say.

The injectable glue, MeTro, is based on a naturally occurring protein called tropaelastin. It is applied directly to the wound and is then activated with UV light to form a complete seal, eliminating the need for staples or stitches.

Its elasticity means it’s designed to work well on shape-changing internal organs like the lungs and heart.

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A study published in journal Science Translational Medicine showed the glue quickly and successfully sealed incisions in the arteries and lungs of rodents and the lungs of pigs.

“The beauty of the MeTro formulation is that, as soon as it comes in contact with tissue surfaces, it solidifies into a gel-like phase without running away,” said lead author Assistant Professor Nasim Annabi from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University.

MeTro combines the natural elastic protein technologies developed in collaboration with author and University of Sydney biochemist Professor Anthony Weiss, with light sensitive molecules developed in collaboration with author and director of the Biomaterials Innovation Research Center at Harvard Medical School Professor Ali Khademhosseini.

Prof Weiss likens the glue to that of silicone sealants used around bathroom and kitchen tiles.

This article was published by SBS.com.au.

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