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Media Releases

Warnings and what they mean for you and your community

2 March 2017

A National Warnings System has been developed to provide information on what is happening and what actions you need to take for your safety if there is an emergency.

What are warnings?
Warnings are the official instructions issued by an emergency control agency when there is an emergency that is going to impact a community or communities. Depending on the type of emergency, a warning will provide information on what is happening and what action you need to take.

The warning level is based on the severity of the incident, the conditions in which it is occurring and the impacts it could have on the community.

You should never wait for an official warning to take action because in some situations the first warning you get could be an Emergency Warning.    

What are the warning levels?

There are three different levels of warnings that may be issued for an emergency.

  • Emergency Warning – this is the highest level of warning and requires immediate action due to the imminent danger. The emergency will impact the community.
  • Warning (Watch & Act) –an emergency is likely to impact a community, and you need to take action now to protect yourself and your family due to the fast-changing conditions of the incident.
  • Advice – is issued when an incident is occurring or has occurred in the area. It advises community members to access more information and to keep an eye on their local conditions.

An ‘All Clear’ message is issued when the incident activity in the area has subsided and there is no longer a danger to the community. When an All Clear is issued you can stop undertaking the safety actions you were undertaking.

There are also two additional types of messages that may be issued in an emergency.

  • Prepare to Evacuate/Evacuate Now –  is issued when community impact is imminent and procedures have been put in place to evacuate the area.
  • Community Information – can be used as a newsletter to provide information on recovering for a community affected by an emergency, or as a notification that an incident has occurred but where there is no threat to the community.

What to do if you’re in an area when a warning is issued?

If you find yourself near, or within the area of an emergency, it’s critical for your safety that you follow any warnings or emergency information.

If a warning is issued, follow the advice of the warning immediately and take any necessary actions to protect yourself and your family. If you don’t understand, make sure you get a neighbour, friend or trusted community member to explain it to you.

Tell your family or friends what is happening and what you plan to do, particularly if you’re going to relocate to another location. Stay informed and keep listening for more information in case the situation changes.

Warnings are there to help ensure you have the best information to help you and your family stay safe, and can be accessed from a range of sources. These include: