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When Social media gets it wrong, “the tsunami warning that was not a warning”

The SES maps which cover the entire NSW coast, highlight in red the areas where residents would – in the one-in-10,000-year chance of a serious tsunami – be required to seek shelter and move to higher ground of at least 10 metres or evacuate to a safer zone.

Within hours on the SES Facebook site the maps had been shared 6000 times and attracted 4000 comments. Responses on Facebook suggested that some members of the public had heard the weather forecasts for continuing heavy rain, seen the tsunami maps, and put two and two together to think a tsunami was on its way.

SES spokesman, Phil Campbell, said the launch on Friday had been planned for months, and it was unfortunate that the developing bad weather situation coincided with their release. A range of community events had been planned to discuss the maps.

For safety and preparedness advice go to www.tsunamisafe.com.au

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Neil Bibby was Chief Executive Officer of the Country Fire Authority between 2002 and 2009 and Managing Director People and Innovation