Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
South Australian startup Sirenus has taken its campaign for funding of its social emergency warning system directly to the people through the crowd-funding website Pozible (http://sirenus.pozible.com).

The company is seeking support to run a trial of Sirenus in the Adelaide Hills this summer for people threatened by bushfire. Importantly, the trial will cover the McLaren Vale region where a firebug is currently active.

CEO and founder of Sirenus Leith Mudge has spent the last 12 months seeking support and funding to help develop Sirenus from various government entities with limited success. These have included the Emergency Services (CFS & SA SES), SA Police, SA LGA and local SA councils.

“They like the idea of Sirenus, and are watching us with interest, but are reticent to support us because it threatens the old command and control paradigm of emergency management,” Mr Mudge said.

“They’re scared that if they encourage a two-way conversation during times of crisis that they will lose control of the information and potentially create panic and misinformation.”

By validating crowd-sourced information, Sirenus is designed to harness the best of social media, allowing people to share and use information in a safe and responsible way.

“Sirenus users can be confident that they get all official warnings and are not missing out on the best crowd-sourced information available through social media. This is delivered to them in a convenient and filtered way so they only get warnings of concern to them,” said Mr Mudge.

One of the major expenses of running the trial will be professional indemnity and public liability insurance.

“As an Adelaide Hills resident myself, I don’t want to lose my house in a bushfire but I also don’t want to lose it in a fallacious law suit,” Mr Mudge said.

“We’ve even had trouble getting insurance companies to quote. We eventually had to go overseas to a specialist insurer.”

For further information contact Leith Mudge on 0414 716 903 and/or visit http://sirenus.net.

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Sirenus is developing a new kind of emergency warning system that combines information on a disaster threat from a variety of sources including official, mainstream and social media. It sorts, categorises and validates this information and then delivers it automatically and immediately to users via smartphone app, web page, social media (Twitter, Facebook), email and text message.

"People in disaster zones have a desperate need for localised and timely information," says CEO and founder Leith Mudge. "Recent events, including the Queensland floods, have indicated that people are increasingly turning to social media as a source of information in disaster situations. But who has the time to monitor this and sort out the good from the bad, the vital warning from the rumour or hoax?"

Sirenus were finalists in both the People’s Choice and General categories of the 2011 Telstra Innovation Challenge.
Leith Mudge
P: 0414 716 903
W: sirenus.net


disaster comms, text messaging emergencies, social media for emergency comms



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