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Useful contacts, links and apps

Emergency

Emergency phone number - Triple Zero 000
Note that 112 may be used as an acceptable secondary emergency line from mobile phones. It connects to Triple Zero, but does not provide enhanced priority or other benefit. See clarification on the Australian Government website.

VicEmergency  website and app
VicEmergency has a real time Google Map display with incidents across the state including fires, floods, storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, hazardous materials and traffic accidents.

A new VicEmergency hotline 1800 226 226 has been released to supplement emergency information.

The VicEmergency app provides Victorians with access to warnings and incidents for fires, floods, storms, earthquake, tsunamis and water safety. 

Emergency+ smartphone app.

The Emergency + app has been developed by Australia's Triple Zero Awareness Working Group. One advantage is that it will display the GPS coordinates of the phone's location that the caller can read out to the emergency operator.

iPhone Built in Emergency button
Some smartphones have a built in emergency app, for use without having to open the phone with the password.
On the iPhone password screen, there is 'emergency', enabling a direct emergency call and access to your pre-programed Medical ID information. 

 

First Aid

First Aid Kit
All walkers should carry an appropriate First Aid kit

First Aid app.
Useful apps. include First Aid by St John AmbulanceFirst Aid by Australian Red Cross, and First Aid Fast

Ambulance
Walkers should consider if they have appropriate insurance for ambulance transfer. Many people have some (often limited) cover through their personal health insurance. If not, or if the cover is limited, direct membership of Ambulance Victoria is recommended.

First Aid training subsidy
Bushwalking Victoria provides subsidies for recognised First Aid training.

 

Fire

Victoria Bushfire Information Line - 1800 240 667
The Victoria Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) provides information about significant bushfires, bushfire risk, planned burning and related matters.

Fire Ratings and Total Fire Bans
Fire Danger Ratings are forecast for four days and a Total Fire Ban is declared by CFA as and when appropriate. MUAB automatically cancels a walk if a Total Fire Ban is declared in the relevant district on that day.

FireReady app.
The FireReady app. was the official Victorian Government app. for access to timely, relevant and tailored bushfire warnings and information in Victoria. It has now been supervened by the VicEmergency app., see above

 

Weather

The Bureau of Meterology of Australia provides a comprehensive website.

Useful apps include Weatherzone Plus, Yahoo Weather, or you can access the Met's own mobile website.

 

Related organisations

Bushwalking Victoria
Members of MUAB are automatically entitled to membership of the peak body Bushwalking Victoria, with the many benefits this confers. These include among other, access to the annual Federation Walks weekend, the where2walk directory of Victorian walks, insurance when participating in club walks, and discounts at some relevant retailers of bushwalking equipment and services. It is worth visiting the website to better understand the range of activities undertaken by BWV. 

Parks Victoria
Parks Victoria manages over 4 million hectares of parks and related assets. it has a very comprehensive website to assist Parks users.
Amongst many other services, it makes available maps for many of the parks, and park maps optimised for viewing on mobile devices are made available free of charge from Avenza PDF Maps app.

Roadside Vehicle Assistance.
Roadside vehicle assistance is worth considering if travelling by car to the location of walks. MUAB makes no representation as to the quality or suitability of any providers of retail goods or services, including the well-known RACV.

 

GPS Tracking Apps

There are numerous apps for GPS location and tracking available for smartphones and related devices, and MUAB does not review these, or recommend any particular apps as suitable for the requirements of individual walkers. However a number of MUAB walkers use such apps on their devices, and it is worth discussing with them what they have found to be the benefits and limitations. Note that some are free, and others require commercial purchase.

As descibed above, the Avenza PDF Maps app is useful for following park trails. Other apps in common usage are Map my Walk, myTracks, and Navionics Hike and Bike. A top of the range app, particularly useful when doing major self-guided walks, is Gaia Maps. Some enable you to download the maps before the walk, so that utility is not dependent on a phone signal while walking. You do however need battery power, and they can be heavy on battery use, so carrying a backup battery pack is wise.

The best way to deal with the plethora of options, after discussion and a bit of research on what is available for your device, is to try them out and see what, if any, appeal to you. For those who enjoy playing with technology, it can be a lot of fun, as well as providing another layer of safety when out in the bush. They do not, however, replace good map reading skills and bushcraft, and should only ever be used as a secondary source of data, not least because of the likelhood of patchy connectivity when in the bush.

There are also dedicated GPS devices which some members may wish to consider for purchase. These provide a range of benefits well beyond what may be available through a smartphone. Anyone considering such a purchase would be well advised to undertake careful research through reputable sources.

As the MUAB Walk Leaders scope all walks prior to the event, general members should not feel the need to have GPS tracking apps or devices themselves, but only go down that pathway if they find the concept interesting and appealing.