Rashid saw the Bourke St Mall tragedy unfold. He decided to do something about it


Emergency management needs real-time data to effectively communicate among the people involved, says Evacovation CEO Rashid Khan.
Key Takeaways
  • Emergency situations happen all over the world every day
  • Better, real-time communication among those involved can assist with saving lives
  • Data relayed among those involved can help provide a blue-print of the area
Police vehicle outside Flinders Street Railway Station in Melbourne
Evacovation CEO Rashid Khan launched the app in 2021 after thinking that better communication on one tragic day in Melbourne in 2017 could have saved lives. | Image source: Getty Images

Khan was nine years old when he experienced his first emergency situation. An ammunitions depot caught on fire in the town where he lived in Pakistan. As the fire tore through the munitions, killing 182 people and injuring a thousand more, he led 18 children at the local school to safety.

“People were running towards the danger,” he says. “It was chaos and there was no communication to tell people what had happened and how to avoid the situation.”

Khan moved to Australia in 2005, and in 2017 while he was working at NAB in Melbourne, six people were killed after being struck by a car that was driven through the Bourke Street Mall and then along the footpath on Bourke Street between the Mall and William Street.

“It unfolded in front of the building we were working in. We didn’t know exactly what was happening and whether it was safe to leave the building or not,” he remembers.

“I didn’t want that ‘could’ in my life. I felt there was a way to make a difference.”

– Rashid Khan, CEO of Evacovation

Khan was collecting data for emergency management at NAB, but after 13 years at the bank, he decided there were good reasons for going out on his own to create Evacovation, an app that gives real-time data and two-way communication to users during an emergency.

He launched the app in 2021 after thinking that better communication on that day in 2017 could have saved lives.

Rashid Khan founder and CEO of Evaconation
Rashid Khan is the founder and CEO of Evacovation | Image source: Supplied

“I didn’t want that ‘could’ in my life. I felt there was a way to make a difference,” he says, adding, “I knew it needed to be simple.”

Users involved in an emergency can feed information through the app to emergency services in real-time, while emergency services can communicate what is happening beyond the emergency site.

It can create a blueprint of what’s happening in the area in real-time.

“This can help to reduce fear and panic and enable clear communication because there is increased knowledge being shared about what is happening,” Khan says.

There is also a functionality that allows users to elect a trusted contact to alert if they are in a personal-threat situation, such as street violence or a domestic situation. It can switch to incognito and dark mode to protect the threatened person from being seen communicating.

“Technology can help the emergency services sector to focus on the people and how to deal with emergencies,” he says. “Being data-rich in emergency management can make a difference to saving lives.”