Understanding bushfire warnings
When bushfire warnings are issued you need to understand the level of warning. There are three levels, each increasing in importance:
2. Watch and Act – a fire is approaching you, conditions are changing; you need to start taking action now to protect your life and your family.
3. Emergency Warning – you are in imminent danger and need to take action immediately. You will be impacted by fire.
Remain alert, monitor the outside environment for signs of fire and actively seek information. Bushfires can be threatening lives and homes within minutes of starting. Call Triple Zero (000) to report a new fire. If there is a bushfire do not expect a fire truck.
How to receive bushfire warningsEmergency broadcasters
Tune to your emergency broadcasters for bushfire warnings : ABC radio stations, commercial radio stations and SKY News TV.
All bushfire warnings will be posted on the DEPI and CFA websites. Note - the same bushfire warnings are posted on both websites.
Victorian Bushfire Information Line
Phone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 (TTY 1800 122 969). Note - the bushfire warnings that the Victorian Bushfire Information Line provide are the same as the warnings on the DEPI and CFA websites.
Telephone emergency warning system
Emergency services can use the telephone emergency warning system to send ‘Emergency Alerts’ to communities. An ‘Emergency Alert’ is generally only used for life threatening emergencies.
In an emergency, you may receive a voice message on your landline (based on the location of the handset), or a text message on your mobile phone (based on the billing address for that phone).
An ‘Emergency Alert’ will provide official and authorised emergency information about the current emergency. It will tell you;
- the level of the warning (Advice, Watch and Act or Emergency Warning - see above)
- what actions you need to take
- where to get further information about the emergency.
Standard Emergency Warning SignalThe Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) is a special siren sound. The SEWS Signal alerts you that an official emergency announcement is about to be made about an emergency that could affect you. You could hear the signal on radio or television, or on a public address systems in areas such as shopping centres or sports grounds.
If you receive an ‘Emergency Alert’ on your landline telephone, you will hear the SEWS signal, followed by the words “Emergency, emergency”, followed by the warning message. The landline message will be spoken in English - if you do not understand the message, ask a family member, friend or neighbour for assistance.
We strongly recommend that you become familiar with the SEWS signal sound.
SEWS Standard Emergency Warning Signal - including introduction (MP3 - 1,018 KB)
The sound file is in MP3 format and should launch the media player available on your system (ie. Windows Media Player or Quicktime). If you do not have any of the above players on your system you can download the free players from Windows Media or QuickTime.