Victoria State Emergency Service

Sidestepping the Worst Case Scenario.

The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) is the control agency for flood, storm, tsunami, and earthquake in Victoria, Australia. It manages responses to these emergencies and helps communities prepare through planning and education.

VICSES operates the largest road rescue network in Australia, assists the Victoria Police in search and rescue operations, and plays an important support role during major bushfire responses.


On February 7, 2009, a day dubbed "Black Saturday" in Australia, deadly bushfires swept through the state of Victoria, tragically resulting in the loss of 173 human lives and much wildlife. A Royal Commission was set up to assess all aspects of the disaster, including the lack of adequate warnings.

Sadly, the situation was made worse by the inability of the emergency service's website to withstand the extreme load placed on it during the emergency.

To be sure this never happened again, VICSES needed a website:

  1. Accessible by any device
  2. Accessible at all times and any location
  3. With information for the general public (no login required)
  4. With an extranet (secure login required) for volunteers
  5. Capable of handling extreme (traffic) loads

All of these features had to be tested, fully functional, and ready for launch in 3 months.


A robust hardware architecture capable of withstanding the worse-case scenario VICSES could image

Plone was chosen from among 22 competitors for its unparalleled accessibility by any device, at any time, in any location.

Enterprise Integration and Robust Scalability Put to the Test

A custom, provider-specific hosting solution safely stored VICSES' data outside the state of Victoria, in Sydney and Adelaide for geographic redundancy. This ensures continuity in the unlikely event that one of the data centers goes down. Dual replicated servers increase performance, and allow load balancing between the two sites. This redundancy, in addition to state-of-the-art CDN technology, guarantees 99.99% availability.

To withstand the anticipated load, the system had to be tested with a level of traffic as close as possible to a live emergency. An automated test environment was set up to simulate a total of 800,000 people accessing emergency information in 15 minutes. The system handled the intense bombardment with flying colours.

Flexible Workflows Make Content Management Easy

Notably, day-to-day content management for staff and volunteers was greatly improved. Non-technical content managers can easily update content from any location (on any device!) and role-based workflow permissions speed up content approvals.

Both the public website and volunteer extranet are administered via one interface, saving time & money.

The extranet allows rapid, online collaboration between all 2,000 volunteers. They can communicate at all times during an emergency situation, in online project areas and forums. They also have access in non-emergency situations to a range of content, such as training materials.

Plone's native functionality lets the Victoria State Emergency Service focus on the community's emergency service needs.

Like the Victoria State Emergency Service, you need a content management system you can trust. Upgrade to Plone today!

"If an earthquake was to hit Victoria tomorrow, we could potentially be looking at up to 80,000 walking wounded within 60 seconds, and they would all need information on where to go."

—Director of Emergency Management, VICSES


  • Government


  • Robust Scalability
  • Enterprise Integration
  • Flexible Workflows

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