About Warnings

State government restrictions are in place due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This may affect how you follow CFA's fire safety advice. You can find up to date advice on Your Bushfire Safety Plan and COVID-19 or on the Coronavirus Victoria website.

For current emergency warnings and incident information go to VicEmergency.

Understanding Warnings

You should never wait to receive an official warning before you leave.  Fires can start quickly and threaten homes and lives within minutes.

Warnings are issued when a fire has started and you need to take action.

Make sure you understand the three levels of warnings and what they mean. The three levels of warnings are

  • Advice
  • Watch and Act
  • Emergency Warning

Don't expect warnings to be issued in any particular order. The first warning you could get could be an Emergency Warning.

There are three different levels of warnings:

 Icon Warnings - Advice Advice

  • An incident is occurring or has occurred in the area
  • Access information and monitor conditions.

 Icon Warnings - Watch and Act Watch and Act

  • An emergency is developing nearby.
  • You need to take action now to protect yourself and others.

 Icon Warnings - Emergency Emergency Warning

  • You are in imminent danger and need to take action now.
  • You will be impacted.

Additional messages that may be issued are:

 Icon Warnings - Advice All Clear

  • Emergency activity in the area has subsided and is no longer a danger to you.

 Icon - community update Community Information

  • A newsletter containing updates for communities affected by an emergency.
  • Can also be used as notification that an incident has occurred but there is no threat to community.

 Icon - Evacuate Prepare to evacuate / evacuate now

  • An evacuation is recommended or procedures are in place to evacuate.

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How we warn the community

icon online

Online - CFA’s warnings and incidents are posted on the VicEmergency website; the key source for all emergency warnings and incident information in Victoria.

icon VBIL

VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

Icon national relay

Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment can contact VicEmergency Hotline via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.

Icon interpreter

If you don't speak English, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.

Icon local news

Radio & TV - ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations and Sky News TV.

icon social media

Social Media - on Twitter @CFA_Updates or @VicEmergency and Facebook at facebook.com/cfavic or facebook.com/vicemergency

icon online

VicEmergency App on your mobile device

Keep an eye on conditions outside. You might be aware of a fire before the emergency services.

If you see flames or a column of smoke, always call 000 immediately.

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Telephone Alerts

A Telephone Alert is one way emergency services can alert the community to official warning information using the National Emergency Alert system.

Incident Controllers can authorise the use of Telephone Alerts to inform the community of any likely or actual emergency within a defined area.

Telephone Alerts are not used in all circumstances, and depends on the nature of the incident. You should not wait to receive a Telephone Alert before you act.

If you receive a Telephone Alert you must follow all instructions given, and stay informed by checking official warning sources.

Alerts can be received via:

  • Voice messages (to landlines)
  • Text messages (to mobile phones)

Alerts will begin with "Emergency, Emergency" and will only be received if your landline (based on its billing address) and mobile phone (based on its billing address and the handsets last known location) is within the defined area and has service. 


Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS)

A distinctive siren sound may be played over the radio or TV before an alert message is broadcast.

SEWS Siren audio with introduction

SEWS Siren audio - siren only

Community Alert Sirens

Community Alert Sirens are used as part of Victoria’s warning system for all hazards – including flood, fire and storm. Not all communities have a siren. For more information and locations see Community Alert Sirens.



Page last updated:  Wednesday, 24 November 2021 6:27:09 PM