SMS Emergency Alerts used for the first time

Emergency Alert text messages have been sent in South Australia to warn residents of bushfires in the area.

The national Emergency Alert text messaging service, which warns the public of disasters in their area, has been used for the first time in South Australia.

The text messages were sent to Telstra, Optus and Vodafone customers yesterday to warn of bushfires in South Australia.

“As fires threatened Port Lincoln and other communities on the Eyre Peninsula, Emergency Alert’s location-based warnings were successfully deployed by the South Australia Country Fire Service,” Nicola Roxon, Attorney-General, said in a statement.

The text alerts were sent to Telstra mobile customers based on their last known location or their registered service address. Text alerts were also sent to Optus and Vodafone customers based on their registered address; the system is being upgraded to send last-known-location texts to phones on the two telcos' networks.

Landlines also received voice messages.

Voice alerts were also sent to landline numbers yesterday.

The Emergency Alert system has been in place since 1 December 2009, with the government providing $60 million in funding to add location-based texting to the system.

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Tags emergency alert systemEmergency AlertsVodafoneoptusTelstra

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