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About Warnings

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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:

  • Warnings advice Advice

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

    • An emergency is heading towards you.
    • Conditions are changing and you need to take action now to protect yourself and your family.
  • 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:

  • Warnings Advice All Clear

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

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Online - CFA’s warnings and incidents page is aligned with the information provided on the VicEmergency website; the key source for all emergency information in Victoria.

VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

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.

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

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

Social media - on twitter @CFA_Updates and facebook.com/cfavic

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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Alerts and Sirens

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. When 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.

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.


Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS)

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

Asset Publisher

SEWS Community Service Announcement (Includes introduction):

Download WAV - 722kb | Download MP3 - 1mb

SEWS Standard Emergency Warning Signal (Siren sound only):

Download MP3 - 782kb

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