East Gidgegannup VBFB receives antenna booster to improve communications during emergencies

Gidgegannup volunteer firefighters Les Harris and Stuart MacKenzie check their mobile coverage with Telstra Regional General Manager Boyd Brown. Photo: Mark Thompson
Gidgegannup volunteer firefighters Les Harris and Stuart MacKenzie check their mobile coverage with Telstra Regional General Manager Boyd Brown. Photo: Mark Thompson

EAST Gidgegannup Volunteer Bushfire Brigades have been donated an antenna booster to assist them with their mobile communication in times of need.

Telstra regional general manager Boyd Brown said telecommunications could be crucial before, during and after a natural disaster.

“We provided the volunteers with a Telstra Go antenna for their fire appliance to boost connectivity when they are travelling to a fire, which obviously was a challenge for brigades in the hilly terrain,” he said.

“This is a very fire-prone district and the teams need good coverage to co-ordinate firefighters as well as help plan to fight a fire.

“We appreciate the work that volunteers do, so if we can in any small way help make their life a little more manageable then we are keen to do that.”

Mr Boyd also urged Perth Hills residents to develop a “keep connected” plan in case of a major fire over the summer period.

“Whether it’s the ability to call for help, let loved ones know you’re ok or get your business back up and running, we know how important connectivity is when disaster hits,” he said.

“Even if you don’t live in an area that’s at risk, you might be holidaying or driving through a disaster-prone area, so please remain vigilant and plan ahead so that you are prepared as you can be should disaster strike.”

Tips to stay connected during an emergency

Mobile phones

Have an alternative phone charger

Back up important data, like contact information and photos, to your cloud.

Know your numbers – Compile a list of essential contact numbers to store in your phone and keep them close at hand, including local police, fire, SES, family, friends and Telstra’s fixed line fault line – 13 22 03.

Satellite phones – are usually immune to damaged infrastructure and can operate in remote locations. If communications are critical consider a satellite phone.

Fixed line phones

For NBN customers – It’s important to remember if your home phone now works through the modem and there’s a power outage, your phone line will also be down. Best to have a mobile phone handy, or a satellite phone for those in remote areas.