Even AM is not perfect
Already, there are complaints from some people near Bungendore (NSW) that their AM coverage is patchy, and as a result they weren't receiving the ABC warnings about fires in their area last week.
One of the concerns I have about the prevalence of warnings across radio, SMS, Twitter etc is that it tends to transfer the responsibility to Government agencies for making decisions about what to do. As someone who has done a lot of community education work around bushfires, one of the hard things is getting people to understand that it is their responsibility to make a decision about staying and defending their property or leaving early. There are too many people who still believe that the agencies will tell them what to do, but in our increasing catastrophic conditions fires develop and progress too fast for this. But then we are left with the old complaint "No-one told me". When technology fails, people need to use their eyes, ears and noises to understand what is going on.
Finally, one of the benefits of technology is for firefighters. Last week, I was on the first ACT taskforce to Bungendore (NSW) when the fire was still actively threatening properties. As we don't normally operate in that area, of course we had no maps. Luckily, with coverage nearly all the way there we could start looking on Google Maps for key landmarks and roads to better understand what was around us.