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Tourist hot spot no longer a black spot
Devils River has long been a hot spot for holiday makers, who flock to the area to enjoy camping and water sporting adventures.
Located in the heart of Lake Eildon National Park, the small camping area is surrounded by rugged hills, open woodlands and dense forest, making it a notorious ‘black spot’ for mobile phone services.
In December 2016, however, Devils River unveiled a new Telstra tower, which was built under the Commonwealth Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
Jay Williams, Captain of Alexandra Fire Brigade, was at the launch of the new tower and said it will improve mobile phone reception, making it a big win for emergency services as well as the local community.
“This will be really good for local tourism,” said Jay.
“Not only because it will make people safer, but also because they will feel more connected with friends and family back at home.
“For our CFA crew, it means we can now use our mobile phones as well as our digital radios to communicate with other emergency crews, which makes our operations much more efficient.”
In June 2015, the Commonwealth Department of Communications announced the first round of the Mobile Black Spot Programme, which seeks to improve mobile phone service in remote Australian communities by delivering 499 new and upgraded mobile base stations.
Before the Devils River tower was built, Jay said campers had to drive away from the camping ground to get reception and call 000, leading to serious delays in local emergency service response times.
Campers also often found themselves less informed about local weather conditions and fire risks.
“Now on Total Fire Ban days, people won’t have to rely solely on us driving around and putting signs up,” said Jay.
“They will be able to check via the VicEmergency website or app, which means there will be much greater awareness of the fire risk, as well as any warnings issued.”
Remember, it’s important to stay informed and be aware of local conditions when travelling to regional or remote communities in Victoria. If you find yourself without phone reception, tune into ABC local radio, commercial and designated community radio stations for emergency updates.
For more information on how to plan and prepare for emergencies, visit cfa.vic.gov.au.