The Emergency WA Hackathon 2023

WADSIH is proud to partner with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to bring you the 2023 Emergency WA Hackathon this June!

Technical Partner

Date and time

Fri, 23 Jun 2023 5:00 PM – Sun, 25 Jun 2023 4:00 PM AWST


Riff, powered by Spacecubed 45 St Georges Terrace Perth, WA 6000


To purchase a ticket, click here

Are you an innovator, developer, team player, designer or start-up? Are you keen to help West Australians stay safe by applying Generative AI technologies?

The WA Data Science Innovation Hub (WADSIH) is proud to partner with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) to invite you to attend The Emergency WA Hackathon.

Starting on Friday 23 June, WADSIH and DFES will present seven emergency services related challenges that affect the WA community. These challenges have been uniquely selected as they provide an inspiring launch pad for keen technologists to explore how Generative AI technologies like Chat GPT, Whisper and Dall-E could be used to improve the safety of West Australians.

With almost $10k in prize pool up for grabs this is the perfect space for students and developers to learn how these new Generative AI technologies can be combined for impactful results. All skills are welcome!

Participants are required to attend the Friday Launch in addition to the Hackathon weekend:

Venue: all Hackathon event components will be held at: Riff, 45 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA.
Launch: Friday 23 June 5pm – 8pm
Hackathon: Saturday 24 + Sunday 25 June 9am – 4pm

Catering provided.

Register now as a Participant:

$20 for general admission participant tickets

$10 for student participant tickets (university proof of attendance required)

Registrations close Wednesday 14th June 2023.


1 x Emergency WA Prize of $2,500

2 x Runner Up Prizes of $1,500

1 x Student Prize of $1,000

1 x Organiser’s Commendation of $1,000

1 x Technical Achievement of $1,500

Challenge Statements

1. How can we provide citizens with hearing and vision impairment, better emergency interactions?

WA community members who suffer from partial or complete hearing and vision impairment cannot easily interact or keep up to date with warnings information being issued on Emergency WA. Warnings information can be issued at a high frequency, in some cases every 20-30minutes. DFES seeks to develop better communication methods for WA community members who suffer from partial or complete hearing and vision impairment.


2. When first responders attend an incident they need to relay critical information to Coordinators of Public Information. How can we prompt this conversation to make sure the most critical information makes it through first?

DFES Coordinators of Public information (CPI) receive telephone calls from emergency response teams requesting warnings. Experienced CPIs have gained considerable knowledge and experience in understanding the caller and asking clarifying questions to determine the correct warning level to issue. Due to the increasing frequency and severity of emergencies in Western Australia, DFES has increased the size of the CPI team and wants to ensure a standard experience is provided to all emergency response teams requesting a warning, especially during high stress situations (multiple concurrent calls) or when telephone call quality is poor.

3. How can we automatically generate information for people who are affected by an ongoing incident?

Alerts and warnings posted to the Emergency WA website contain critical information relevant to people in specific locations. People impacted by emergencies are often highly stressed, making it difficult to read through lengthy warning information to make quick decisions about what to do. Community research and feedback has told us people increasingly want to receive information that is personalised, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Therefore, DFES seeks to deliver highly personalised warnings to the WA community so that any individual receiving a message understands what they need to do, according to their own location and circumstances, including the safest route to evacuate (where required) These directions could then auto-load to their in-car navigation where available. The WA community access Emergency WA across a range of diverse communication channels including but not limited to: Emergency WA website, 13 DFES Telephone Information Line, Facebook, Twitter, Desktop and Mobile. In future these channels may expand to include In-Home devices, Wearables, In-Car apps, SmartTVs amongst others. During an active emergency such as a bushfire or cyclone, people affected often have questions spanning how to prepare, where to evacuate to, how to get there, what to take, etc. This information is available throughout the Emergency WA and DFES Corporate websites but is not always easy to find, and much of it is not provided in a format that is easy to understand during times of stress. DFES is seeking to develop a capability for the WA community to ask questions and be self-served information in an easily understandable format across any communication channel.


4. How can we detect and automatically translate emergency notifications in to a person’s native language?

The Emergency WA website contains alerts and warnings information in English only. Recent Census data (Census 2021) indicated 18.7% of of Western Australians reported speaking a language other than English. Of these people, 12.1% (approximately 33,000 people) reported as having low English proficiency. This was lower than in 2016 (when it rated at 14%). DFES seeks to deliver warnings to people who speak languages other than English, through real-time translation. Ideally, the translation tool/engine will have the ability to learn and improve based on user feedback. When mapping warning areas, DFES would like to know immediately what languages are spoken within a mapped warning area. This assists the incident response in activating translators and community representatives with specific skills and experience.


5. Can we automatically generate appropriate, contextual, warnings based upon a person’s location?

When mapping warning areas, DFES would like to know immediately what suburbs, towns, Local Government Authorities (LGAs) exist within the warning area boundary and the tool suggest an appropriate location to insert into the warning headline. This term would need to scale to use appropriate locations based on the size of the warning area. For example, a warning area could encompass a small area such as one suburb. In this case, the headline could read: Bushfire Emergency Warning – Take Shelter Now – Success. However, if the warning area spanned half of Western Australia, determining the location would be extremely difficult as suburbs, towns, LGAs would be ineffective.


6. Can we automatically generate warnings based upon trends and forecasts from disparate data?

DFES operators manually create community warnings using data from multiple sources such as the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). For hazards that have greater lead time, such as severe weather, cyclones and floods there is the potential to fully automate the core warning message creation and publication to provide faster warnings to the community. Trained human operators can then be used to review warnings and provide quality assurance. For more time critical hazards, such as bushfire, data sources such as Computer Aided Dispatch data could be used to trigger automatic warnings combined with data from satellite imagery and bushfire risk plans.

7. Emergencies and incidents can occur anywhere and at any time. With the full set of data from DFES, can you identify what locations are most likely to be impacted by different hazards over the next year?

DFES has provided you with access to the last three years of warnings and incidents data in Western Australia. This data includes incidents (000 dispatches), warning areas and warning messages and fire shapes. What historical and emerging trends can you identify to assist DFES in planning for the future?

Pictures from the 2022 Health Hackathon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Hackathon?

Hackathons are collaborative and innovation focussed events that see participants build prototype solutions to solve challenges. When we say ‘hack’ in this context we mean to encourage quick solving something through a prototype, not breaking into a software system. Solutions are generally software-based programs, but they can also be new designs or even insightful improvements for processes and other issues. Given the time constraints (you’ll only have a weekend!) a prototype can be as simple as a small piece of code, a website or even a presentation. The point is to have fun helping out our community.

What is Generative AI?

You may have heard of technologies like ChatGPT, Dall-E and Midjourney. These software tools use complex maths and lots of data to help create new pieces of text or images based upon prompts provided by their users. At the Emergency WA Hackathon we will be encouraging participants to stitch together these various tools to resolve some of the challenges faced by our Emergency Services.

How can I use Generative AI to solve the DFES’s Challenges?

There are thousands of Generative AI tools available. Have a look at the website ‘There’s an AI for that’ to see a register of some of these tools. Most of these tools will allow you to pass data and information to their Application Programming Interface (API) automatically. If you query Chat-GPT you can quickly develop a small piece of code that will allow you to interact with APIs. If you carefully look at DFES’s data sets, structure the data in the right way, and find the right Generative AI to read this information – you could automatically generate a response to future, similar situations. Have a look at OpenAI’s Documentation to read how to do this.

If you’re really clever you might be able to use the output of one Generative AI as the input for another Generative AI. By combining these Generative AIs, you can resolve Challenges that might not be immediately solvable. Have a look at Auto-GPT and all of Open AI’s pre-generated examples to get some clues as to how to resolve DFES’s Challenges!

More Information

– Using OpenAI and Pinecone is a very common use case:

– Here is a youtube video of someone creating this exact use case, watch the video from about 9:20: 

– There are some other good examples online:


Is this Hackathon for teams or solo participants?

We encourage participants to team up to build prototypes that solve DFES’ Challenges. You can participate as a solo participant, but we’ve noticed that the teams who have the most fun and tend to do the best are typically made up of between three to four participants.

What if I’m not part of a team?

Don’t worry. At the start of the event, we will help pair you with other like-minded people so you can form a team.

When do I register my solution or team?

Solutions and teams will be officially registered on Saturday morning at 11am. 

Can a team member assist us remotely?

Yes, but keep in mind the following requirements 

– All team members must have a valid ticket
– Your team and solution must be registered in person at the event space at 11am on Saturday 24th June 2023
– Your solution must be demonstrated in person at the Pitch Event that starts at 1pm on Sunday 25th June 2023.

What is the Pitch Event?

At 1pm on Sunday 25th June 2023 team will have three minutes to ‘pitch’ their idea to our judges. Judges will also have an optional one minute of questions. This pitch can take whatever form you’d like – demonstrations are always a great way to show off what you’ve built. The judges will award the prizes based upon your pitches. 

Who are the judges?

The judges will be announced over the course of the next few weeks.

Will there be technical experts on hand, over the weekend for advice and direction?

Yes there will be technical mentors from idoba. There will also be subject matter experts from DFES in attendance. 

Will data sets be provided for each of the challenges?

Yes. DFES will be providing data from their internal business processes but teams are also encouraged to seek out and use other open data sources that might help them validate their solution.

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

No, but if you are under the age of 18, you will need to be accompanied by a guardian at all times.

What are my transport and parking options for getting to and from the event?

Transport to the event can be found by visiting the Transperth website. There are also CPP and Wilson parking lots close to the venue.

What do I need to bring along?

This will be an event where we explore how Generative AI techniques can help solve major issues affecting WA. We’d strongly recommend bringing along a laptop and a collaborative mindset!

Food and refreshments will be supplied by the organisers.

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

If you have any questions, you can contact WADSIH via LinkedIn or reach out to