It’s time to say goodbye – Cork Safety Alerts mobile apps to be discontinued

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When we began development of our Mobile Apps a few years ago, we had big plans for the apps to become a huge success and become hugely popular in Cork City and County.

Our vision was to create an app which served custom alerts, to users for their locations – which we achieved. However, we had to do so with a cost. Our mobile apps came with a premium subscription for those who wanted to filter notifications/alerts.

However, the time has come for us to say goodbye to our Mobile Apps as we announce their discontinuance.

Why?

We had to pay the developers back for the applications (some of this cost was crowdfunded, and for that we’re forever grateful – without the help on GoFundMe the app venture would have never been possible) and each subsequent update to the app (security fixes, bug fixes, database issues) all came with a cost. This coupled on top of the server costs, the costs kept growing and growing.

Shortly after development of the app, we stopped receiving updates from the developers – unfortunately the development company had grown, and no longer had the resources to help us – which we can appreciate, companies grow and get busy. This is a good thing for them! We were left pretty much in the dark though, and regular updates proved hard, so we then had to try and source alternative developers to continue updating the app, and for any important security fixes – which we did. However, as with any good app – updates will always be needed.

The premium subscription didn’t prove overly popular, and while we have a number of users who did upgrade to Premium – this was only a small percentage of the total app users. We wanted to maintain a freemium app, and initially wanted everyone to get push notifications (and then have the option to filter them out) but it was decided against this in consultation with the developers due to too many notifications being sent, so we chose a method of allowing users to only receive alerts they wanted.

Why now?

Due to increased costs incurred with the mobile apps, and important updates that need to be performed (at a higher price than we originally expected) it’s simply not possible for us to provide the service of the Mobile Apps. For example, our Push Notification provider has recently announced some pretty big changes, which see a 100% increase in the cost of the service.

We also recently discovered that an important update to Google Cloud Functions is also taking place, early next year. This means that an update to our ‘Functions’ will be required. A Google Cloud Function is a function that the app performs, e.g. when submitting an alert to us, or when an alert is posted to our Facebook – a Cloud Function will take the update from Facebook, and edit it to be displayed in the app. It’s the brain behind the app, and what provides much of our automation. The update to Cloud Functions will require them to be updated, and rewritten to continue working.

It was on the basis of these two updates to the app, and the quotes we got from some developers to perform these updates being far too high for us to pay – we decided that we are going to discontinue the app.

When is this going to happen?

The mobile apps are being discontinued on Saturday, 23rd November 2019.

What happens if I have an active premium subscription, will I receive a refund?

All payments and refunds are handled by the relevant App Stores, so in our case the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store. You will need to reach out to iTunes Store Support, and Google Play Support to request a refund.

If you have made a purchase within 14 days, you have a legal right under EU law to request cancellation and for a refund to be issued. This is known as the EU Right of Withdrawal. You may quote this when requesting your refund from the App Stores to support your case in requesting a refund. Apple’s policy on Right of Withdrawal can be seen here, and Google Play can be seen here. The exception to this is: You cannot cancel your order for the supply of Content if the delivery has started upon your request and acknowledgement that you thereby lose your cancellation right. 

Refunds however, are out of our control and are the responsibility of the relevant app stores. We are unable to directly facilitate a refund for the Premium Subscription. This is outlined in our Terms and Conditions which can be seen in the app, left hand menu under ‘Terms of Use’.

The discontinuance of the Mobile Apps is in line with our Terms and Conditions which state that we may withdraw the app from the App Stores at any given time.

What will happen my data?

Complying with GDPR policies, all data will be hard deleted (completely erased) from our servers on or shortly before the date of discontinuance. Should you wish to delete your data/account before this date, you can do so by heading to the ‘My Profile’ tab within the mobile app and selecting the option to ‘Delete Account’ or ‘Unlink Google’ / ‘Unlink Facebook.’ This will hard delete your data immediately.

Where do we go from here? How do I get your alerts?

Cork Safety Alerts will continue to publish alerts, and be as active as ever on our Social Media accounts including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We suggest setting up alerts on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when we post. This way, you’ll receive a push notification each time an alert is issued by us.

We also have the ability to subscribe to our website posts, using the bell notification in the right hand side. Android users can use Chrome to receive notifications direct to their phones as well as desktop browser notifications.

We’ve also created a dedicated Submit Alert page on our website to make it even easier to send us updates/alerts.

The ‘Be Winter Ready’ interagency campaign has launched for winter 2019/2020

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Government Task Force on Emergency Planning

‘Met Éireann’s Weather Warnings’ 

  • Additional beds for rough sleepers provided under Cold Weather Initiative
  • Financial support for businesses affected by flooding
  • 217,000 tonnes of salt available for country’s roads
  • ‘Continuity checklist’ for employers

‘Be Winter Ready’

The Government today launched the ‘Be Winter-Ready’ 2019 -2020 Information Campaign focusing this year on the different colour codings associated with Met Éireann weather warnings.

The campaign was jointly launched by Minister with responsibility for Defence and Chairman of the Government Taskforce, Mr. Paul Kehoe T.D., Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Shane Ross T.D and Minister with special responsibility for Housing and Urban Development, Mr Damien English T.D.

Also in attendance were representatives from the various Departments and Agencies tasked with emergency planning and response. 

The launch coincided with a meeting of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning, which dealt with winter-preparedness issues.

The ‘Be Winter-Ready’ campaign, which is the ninth of its kind, is intended to raise awareness about the particular challenges that winter can present.

This is now an established and important annual event impacting across the whole public service.

The campaign highlights the ‘Whole of Government’ approach being taken to winter preparations.  This sort of approach was seen during recent storms which posed challenges for communities, businesses, Government Departments and Agencies.

Importantly, the ‘Be Winter-Ready’ campaign informs the public of what is being done in relation to winter preparations and where they can source valuable information that can assist them through a difficult period.

Met Éireann weather warnings

This year’s ‘Be Winter-Ready’ campaign is focused on “Met Éireann’s Weather Warnings”. 

The Office of Emergency Planning, in collaboration with their colleagues in Met Éireann, have designed and produced a leaflet on these weather warnings. This leaflet and leaflets from previous Be Winter Ready campaigns are available on the winterready.ie website. 

This main focus of this years ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign is about explaining this colour coding. 

Status Yellow: While a Status Yellow warning is for weather that does not pose a threat to the general population this does not mean that caution should not be taken; it is potentially dangerous but on a localised scale. If Met Éireann issue a Status Yellow warning you should check if you are exposed to danger due to your activity or your specific location and you should take appropriate action to protect yourself. 

Status Orange: A Status Orange warning may pose a threat to life and property with people in the affected area being impacted significantly. In this circumstance you should take advice from the Local Authorities and Gardaí and think about delaying or canceling your activities as appropriate. It may be useful to consider the impact of the weather event in advance and if there is anything that you can do to minimise the potential damage to you or your property.    

Status Red: In the event that Met Éireann issue a Status Red weather warning you should take action to keep yourself safe. 

Minister Kehoe said: 

“While everyone is aware of the seriousness of a Status Red warning there is less clarity about what to do in a Status Orange or Status Yellow warning. This main focus of this years ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign is about explaining this colour coding. Colour coding is in place for a reason and understanding it can save lives.  

Housing, Planning and Local Government

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is the lead Government Department for the response to severe weather emergencies and has successfully led the response, at national level, to recent severe weather events including ex-Hurricane Ophelia and the severe cold weather and Storm Emma.

Speaking at the launch, Minister English said additional beds are being provided to rough sleepers under the Cold Weather Initiative.

 

The Cold Weather Initiative involves the provision of additional beds to ensure that there is adequate capacity to cope with additional demand due to colder temperatures. The Initiative also involves extended opening hours where facilities do not operate on a 24-hour basis and additional outreach activity to encourage entrenched rough sleepers to avail of accommodation,” the Minister said.  

“My Department is working with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive to deliver 300 additional emergency beds this winter, with 150 beds already in place and the majority of the 300 beds to be in place before Christmas.  A further 50 contingency beds are available to ensure that there will be sufficient beds available for all that require shelter. Specific measures are being put in place throughout all the regions,” he added.

Businesses

Today’s meeting also heard of the importance of businesses showing a sense of awareness and preparedness this winter.

Minister Humphreys encouraged businesses to put a simple plan in place now to ensure they are best placed to deal with a severe weather event. 

Minister Humphreys said her Department has prepared a Business Continuity Checklist which provides useful advice to businesses, which is available on the Department’s website.

And the Minister confirmed that small businesses, sports clubs, community organisations and voluntary organisations may be able to avail of financial support under an ad hoc humanitarian assistance scheme if they are affected by flooding and do not have insurance.

Such a scheme was recently launched to assist businesses affected by flooding in Donegal Town.

 “My Department will be in a position to activate similar schemes again on an ad hoc basis, working closely with Red Cross, as required,” Minister Humphreys added.

Transport

The severe winter of 2017/18 saw over 200,000 tonnes of salt used across our national, regional & local roads. Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) prepared in advance to ensure an adequate supply of salt was available and has continued to work with Local Authorities in advance of this winter. 

Last winter was particularly mild – in fact the mildest in 21 years according to TII. 

This year, 217,000 tonnes of salt are nationally available.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Ross said he had three key messages ahead of the winter months.

For motorists, please have your vehicle serviced so that it is safe for winter driving, and have your tyres checked regularly. Recent research from the Road Safety Authority found that tyres are a contributory factor in an average of 14 road deaths annually,” the Minister said.  

“For cyclists and pedestrians, please be safe and be seen.  If you’re walking or cycling, wear high viz items and make sure you have proper lighting. 

Finally, I would ask everyone to be aware of how the weather will impact on your journeys this winter.  The focus of this year’s Be Winter Ready campaign is on Met Eireann’s weather warnings and it’s important we all take the time to understand what these warnings mean for us.”


 

Press Release from the HSE / Cork Kerry Community Healthcare:

The “Be Winter Ready” campaign for Cork and Kerry, an inter-agency initiative involving An Garda Síochána, Health Service Executive, Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Kerry County Council launched today.

A public awareness event took place at St Mary’s Primary Care Centre in Gurranabraher, Cork.

Be Winter Ready is a co-ordinated campaign involving statutory services to raise public awareness about the challenges which Winter can present:

Priscilla Lynch, Head of Service Health and Wellbeing Cork Kerry Community Healthcare and the current chair of the interagency Major Emergency Management Region South regional working group addressed the launch. All the agencies involved circulated tips and information on preparing for winter.

Amongst the information promoted by agencies at the event was:

  • An Garda Síochána highlighted the importance of being aware of weather conditions when driving this winter.
  • Cork Kerry Community Healthcare highlighted the importance of vulnerable groups and healthcare workers receiving the flu vaccine.
  • The South/South West Hospital Group reminded the public to consider using Injury Units (including the Mercy University Hospital Injury Unit at the St Mary’s Health campus).
  • Local Authorities (Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Kerry County Council) promoted the salting routes which will be covered in the event of cold weather.
  • Cork County Council provided details of its extensive winter maintenance programme and the National Roads and other strategic routes which are prioritised during adverse weather conditions. Details of the routes can be found on www.corkcoco.ie . The Council also communicates extensive updates on severe weather throughout its digital channels.

The webpage www.winterready.ie has useful tips and information for members of the public, including advice on how to avoid trips and falls, and how to make sure your home and family are prepared for winter.

Ms Lynch said the event showed the level of planning and preparedness work undertaken by An Garda Síochána, Health Service Executive and Cork City Council, Cork County and Kerry County Council in preparing for the challenging conditions that go with winter weather.

She said:

“By working together we can manage the various challenges caused by adverse weather conditions such as Storm Ophelia and Storm Emma.  Past experience has shown us the value of planning together so that we can deal with whatever the Winter period brings. The advice from the “Be Winter Ready” campaign is for the public and businesses to take the time to look at winterready.ie and make sure they are Winter Ready. As always, we remind everyone to take on board any warnings which are issued.”

Ms Lynch encouraged everyone to consider getting the flu vaccine as soon as possible.

“As always, all the agencies continue to encourage people to consider particularly vulnerable neighbours; for example, older people, families with young children, and people with disabilities or mobility problems,” she added.

Among those attending today included members of the inter agency Regional Steering Group, the Regional Working Group; Cllr Damien Boylan, deputising for the Lord Mayor of Cork city;  the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Christopher O’ Sullivan; Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Niall Kelleher along with Public Participation Network representatives.  Members of community groups working with vulnerable populations were also in attendance.

Resources:




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Status yellow Wind & Rainfall warnings have been issued for Cork

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Met Éireann have issued a status yellow – rainfall warning for Cork, valid from Friday 01 November 2019 12:00 to Saturday 02 November 2019 23:59.

  • Forecasters are warning that from Friday afternoon to midnight on Saturday night, rainfall amounts of 30 to 60 mm with a risk of spot flooding. Highest amounts will be in Co. Kerry, especially in mountainous areas.

Issued/Updated: Friday 01 November 2019 10:00
Valid:  Friday 01 November 2019 12:00 to Saturday 02 November 2019 23:59\


 

A Status Yellow – Wind warning for Cork has also been issued

  • Overnight, West to southwest winds, veering northwesterly, will reach mean speeds of 50 to 65 km/h with gusts of 90 to 110 Km/h, and higher in coastal and mountainous areas of Kerry and Cork

Valid: Friday 01 November 2019 23:00 to Saturday 02 November 2019 06:00

Issued: Friday 01 November 2019 10:00




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Gardaí are appealing for witnesses following a hit and run on Magazine Road

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Gardaí are appealing for witnesses following a hit-and-run collision in Cork.

At approximately 3:15am on Saturday 26th October, a 23 year old female pedestrian was struck by a car on Magazine Road, Cork. Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene. The injured female was taken to Cork University Hospital with serious life changing injuries.

The vehicle involved was travelling from the Bandon Road onto Magazine Road and failed to remain at the scene. The vehicle involved is believed to be a dark coloured Volkswagon Polo which may have slight damage to the front and rear of the vehicle.

Gardaí at Anglesea Street are appealing for the driver of the vehicle to come forward, they are also appealing to witnesses, those with video or dash cam footage or anyone information to contact them on 021 452 2000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.


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Missing Person Appeal – Majnoon Yehudie – 47 Years – Douglas

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Gardaí are seeking the public’s assistance in tracing the whereabouts of a missing 47 year old, Majnoon Yehudie who is missing from Douglas. Majnoon was reported missing on Tuesday 22nd October 2019.

Majnoon is described as being:

  • 5ft 8”
  • Thin Build
  • Pale Complexion
  • Blue Eyes

When last seen Majnoon was wearing:

  • Purple Jacket
  • Black Leggings

Gardaí and Majnoon’s family are concerned for her welfare. Anyone with information on his whereabouts are asked to contact Gardaí in Togher on 021-494 7121, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

  • Togher Garda Station:  021 4947120
  • Garda Confidential: 1800 666111




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October Bank Holiday – Road Safety Appeal from An Garda Síochána

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This October bank holiday weekend Gardaí will carry out high visibility patrols and checkpoints across the roads network and are appealing to motorists not to drive under the influence of an intoxicant and to reduce speed. This weekend’s enforcement activities will specifically target and focus on off-peak hours (10pm to 6am) where recent studies have shown that 75% of fatalities were found to return positive toxicology results for alcohol.

Speaking at yesterday’s media briefing Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary said, “This bank holiday weekend we want to keep people safe on our roads. Gardaí will be out in force with high visibility patrols and checkpoints and we would be appealing to people not to drive under the influence of an intoxicant or in excess of the speed limit. Our enforcement activity this weekend will be data driven and is based on research. We are working closely with our partners in the RSA to ensure people are safe”

Gardaí remind motorists to slow down, allow adequate time for their journey and to be mindful of the prevailing weather conditions. Always ensure drivers and passengers, both front and rear, wear their seatbelts. Never ever drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and never use a mobile phone while driving.




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Time to ‘Fall Back’ – Clocks go back this Sunday at 02:00

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So it’s that time of the year again, and the clocks have gone back. Summertime has ended, and the nights are getting longer, the days are getting shorter. It’s time to put the clocks back! Clocks go back this Sunday, 27th October, at 02:00.

Unsure of the current time? We’ve got you covered – check the correct time below!

Why do the clocks go forward and back? (source Wikipedia)

In Ireland, the Standard Time Act 1968 legally established that the time for general purposes in the State (to be known as standard time) shall be one hour in advance of Greenwich mean time throughout the year. This act was amended by the Standard Time (Amendment) Act 1971, which legally established Greenwich Mean Time as a winter time period. Ireland therefore operates one hour behind standard time during the winter period, and reverts to standard time in the summer months. This is defined in contrast to the other states in the European Union, which operate one hour ahead of standard time during the summer period, but produces the same end result.

The instant of transition to and from daylight saving time is synchronised across Europe. In Ireland, winter time begins at 02:00 IST on the last Sunday in October (changing to 01:00 GMT), and ends at 01:00 GMT on the last Sunday in March (changing to 02:00 IST).


A status yellow weather warning is in effect for Cork valid Friday 25 October 2019 08:00 to Saturday 26 October 2019 06:00

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Met Éireann have issued a status yellow – rainfall warning for Cork, valid from Friday 25 October 2019 08:00 to Saturday 26 October 2019 06:00.

  • Forecasters are warning that pulses of heavy rain at times today and overnight, with some spot flooding. Rainfall totals of 25 to 30 mm.

Issued/Updated: Friday 25 October 2019 05:07
Valid:  Friday 25 October 2019 08:00 to Saturday 26 October 2019 06:00




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Missing Person Appeal – Aaron Sheehan – 19 Years

Aaron Sheehan




Gardaí are seeking the public’s assistance in tracing the whereabouts of a missing 19 year old, Aaron Sheehan who was last seen at a fuel service station in the Frankfield Road area of Curragconway, on 22/10/2019 at approximately 3:45pm.

Aaron was last seen on the 13th October 2019.

Aaron is described as being:

  • 5ft 10”
  • Dark Brown Hair
  • Brown Eyes

Aaron has very noticeable tattoos beneath his left eye of two stars and a tattoo of “Trevor” on the left side of his neck.

When last seen Aaron was wearing:

  • A grey tracksuit
  • Black Superdry jacket
  • Black Nike runners.

Gardaí are very concerned for Aarons welfare and advise he may present confused or disorientated. Anyone with information on his whereabouts are asked to contact Gardai in Togher on 021 4947120.

  • Togher Garda Station:  021 4947120
  • Garda Confidential: 1800 666111




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Alcohol is a major factor in fatalities between 10pm and 6am – a message from the RSA

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  • 75% of fatalities between the hours of 10pm and 6am (off-peak) had a positive toxicology for alcohol.
  • The age profile of drivers and passengers killed during off-peak hours is considerably younger than those killed during peak hours.
  • 37% of drivers killed during off-peak hours were aged under 25, and almost half (47%) were aged 25-44.
  • 61% of passengers killed during off-peak hours were aged 18-24.

Research unveiled at today’s October Bank Holiday Road Safety Appeal from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) identifies the presence of alcohol as a factor in fatalities that take place in off-peak hours*. The RSA and An Garda Síochána are highlighting the incidence of collisions that take place between the hours of 10pm and 6am (off peak) and calling on road users to never ever drink and drive and reduce their speed at all times.

Speaking ahead of the Bank Holiday, Mr. Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: “Driving during off-peak hours presents its own risks. However, the same advice applies regardless of when you are on the road – you need to slow down, belt up, don’t use the phone while driving, never drink and drive, or drive while fighting sleep behind the wheel. I would urge all drivers to consider their behaviour not just this Bank Holiday weekend but every time they use the road whether that is midday or midnight.”

The RSA analysis looked at off-peak fatal collisions over a five-year period (2014-2018), to highlight when and where off-peak collisions are occurring, and to review the road user profile of those killed late at night and in the early hours of the morning.

Seven in ten fatal collisions occurring during off peak hours, not involving pedestrians, were single vehicle collisions, meaning no other car was involved. Men are over-represented in off-peak fatalities making up 87% of drivers, 73% of passengers and 87% of pedestrians killed on Irish roads between 10pm and 6am. The age profile of drivers and passengers killed during off-peak hours is considerably younger than those killed during peak hours – 37% of drivers killed during off-peak hours were aged under 25, and almost half (47%) were aged 25-44, 61% of passengers killed during off-peak hours were aged 18-24.

Ms. Moyagh Murdock, CEO, Road Safety Authority, said: “Despite traffic volumes being at their lowest, 27% of fatal collisions and 17% of serious injury collisions occurred during off peak hours. Road traffic collisions that happen late at night and into the early hours differ in key ways to those that happen during the day in two respects: young males are overrepresented and 75% of fatalities had a positive toxicology for alcohol. Continued education and enforcement are needed to target those most vulnerable groups namely young male drivers, young male passengers and male pedestrians.”

Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary, Roads Policing, An Garda Síochána, said: “Our arrest data mirrors the RSA research in that 20-40 year olds, mostly male, are the ones arrested most for intoxicated driving. Many are detected multiple times over the legal limit. Unaccompanied learner permit holders also feature in our data, with almost 2,100 vehicles impounded from high risk, inexperienced drivers since the legislation changed. Drivers choose to speed, not wear a safety belt, be distracted or drive intoxicated. Make the simple and safe choice to always drive safely and protect yourself and others around you.”

A total of 46 people have been killed or seriously injured in October Bank Holiday collisions between 2012-2017.

To date in 2019 a total of 118 people have died on the roads, which is four more than up to the same period in 2018.

You can view the presentations from Velma Burns, RSA Research Manager and Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary, Roads Policing, An Garda Síochána by clicking the link.

*off-peak hours are defined as 10pm-5:59am

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