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Improvements to VicEmergency Warning System

POSTED: 
14 December 2021

A series of improvements will be made to the VicEmergency website, app and social media channels from today, in line with a national approach to emergency information and warnings.

The changes are being made as part of the Australian Warning System, an agreement to align state and territories’ approach to issuing emergency warnings for the five major hazards of fire, flood, extreme heat, severe weather and cyclones.

Victoria becomes the first state to adopt all aspects of the new system today, and the transition for other states and territories is ongoing.

Acting Emergency Management Commissioner Chris Stephenson said the improvements came after two years of national community consultation and work with Victoria’s emergency response agencies.

“The implementation of the Australian Warning System means cross-border residents and interstate visitors will be interacting with the same warnings system on the Victorian, as well as the NSW and South Australian, sides of the borders,” Acting EMC Stephenson said.

“In the case of a hazard that spans two states, both will use the same icons, and warning level names and colours.”

“Residents and visitors will not have to navigate two separate systems, which will make directions much clearer.”

The move to a nationally aligned system was a recommendation from the 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

From today, warnings on VicEmergency will use the nationally-approved warning levels of Advice, Watch and Act and Emergency Warning, and also have an action statement, advising people exactly what to do in response to emergencies.

“There will be no major change to the way Victorians receive emergency warnings,” Acting EMC Stephenson said.

“From today, emergency warnings on VicEmergency will allow the most important direction to be seen immediately in the headline.

“This will help the community make the right decision to protect themselves, others and their property in a timely manner.

“The directions from emergency response agencies will be clear, ensuring communities know when it is best to stay or leave their homes, and when the threat is reduced enough to return home.”

Directions to ‘Evacuate Now’ and ‘Prepare to Evacuate’ were previously issued as their own warning levels, but will now be action statements under the Emergency Warning or Watch and Act levels.

This will ensure the warning levels across Australia are aligned.

 

Victorians are reminded to never rely on one channel for emergency information. Connect to official sources of emergency information, including:

· VicEmergency app ·emergency.vic.gov.au

· Tune in to local emergency broadcasters such as ABC local radio, commercial and select community radio stations, or SkyNews TV

· Phone the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226

· Follow VicEmergency on Facebook and Twitter @vicemergency