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Monday, April 12, 2021

ACT adopts national warning system for fire, natural disasters

Emergency warnings for natural disasters in the ACT have become clearer as the Territory yesterday adopted the new, nationally-consistent Australian Warning System.

The new system has changed the way incidents are displayed on the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) channels and on the Fires Near Me app.

The three levels of warning are shown as a yellow, orange or red triangle, with a symbol corresponding to the relevant event, such as a bushfire, storm or flood.

The ACT ESA said in a statement the new system comes after community feedback suggested there was some confusion about the previous alert levels and their meanings.

The new system means the same warning levels, colours and symbols will be used in each State or Territory across Australia.

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, also referred to as the ‘bushfire Royal Commission’, recommended State and Territory governments “urgently” implement the all-hazard system.

Despite the Royal Commission’s report highlighting concerns about confusion surrounding the warning level ‘Watch and Act’, the alert level remains as the second warning level in the new national system.

The levels of warnings are as follows:

  • ‘Advice’: A hazard has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up to date in case the situation changes.
  • ‘Watch and Act’: There is a heightened level of threat. Conditions are changing and you need to start taking action now to protect you and your family.
  • ‘Emergency Warning’: An Emergency Warning is the highest warning level. You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk.

The new emergency warnings system was put into in place as of yesterday, Tuesday 1 December.    

For more information, visit esa.act.gov.au

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