DFES - Department of Fire and Emergency Services
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Frequently Asked Questions

 

General

Bushfires

General

Where can I find alert and warning information?

Alert and warning information can be found:

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Can I subscribe to receive alerts?

If you have internet access you can subscribe to receive emergency alerts as RSS feeds which provides free automatic updates to your computer every time the content is updated. Click here for more information about DFES's RSS feeds.

You can also follow DFES on Twitter to receive Alerts and Warnings, Total Fire Bans, Fire Danger Ratings and Media Releases. Please note that there may be delays in the Twitter feed. The most up to date emergency information at any time can be found on the Alerts and Warnings page of the DFES website.

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What is an Emergency Alert telephone warning?

Emergency Alert is a telephone warning system employed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and other hazard management agencies in order to send emergency information to communities via landline and mobile telephones.

In November 2012 Emergency Alert replaced the previous WA system called StateAlert.

To learn more about Emergency Alert telephone warnings, click here.

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Why was Emergency Alert adopted in WA?

There are significant benefits to adopting the national Emergency Alert system in WA rather than continuing to maintain the StateAlert system. The decision follows a functional and cost review of StateAlert and takes into account that the national system offers improvement in capability, flexibility and technology.

While WA led the nation in developing the technology for phone based warning systems, particularly with StateAlert, technological developments have resulted in Emergency Alert now being better equipped to effectively distribute information.

Above all, the decision to move to Emergency Alert has been made in the interests of your safety because more messages can be sent to more people about incidents.

To learn more, click here.

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What is the Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS)?

SEWS is a distinctive siren sound adopted to alert the community of an urgent safety message relating to a major emergency or disaster.

SEWS is used as an alert signal for media to draw listeners’ attention to an emergency warning.

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What should I do with my pets and livestock during an emergency?

The welfare of your pets and animals are your responsibility during an emergency.

To learn more about animal welfare during an emergency click here.

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Bushfires

I can see flames and there is no one around. What do I do?

Act immediately for your own safety. The safest place to be is away from the fire. To report a fire call 000.

Click here for more information about bushfire survival.

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I can see and smell smoke but there is no alert on your website?

DFES responds to more than 6500 bushfires each year and only issues alerts and warnings when there is a known possible threat to life or property.

If there is no alert posted on the DFES website, recorded on the information line or distributed to the media, it often means there is no threat to your area at this time.

In the event that there is a bushfire that is known to be threatening property or personal safety, DFES will issue community warnings and alerts through a number of channels.

However, bushfires can start suddenly so you need to be ready to act even if you do not get an official warning. You need to stay alert on hot days and look for information, regularly going outside to check for signs of bushfire. Act immediately for your own safety. Do not wait and see – this can be deadly.

There are three fire management agencies in Western Australia (WA) and these are:
  • The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)
  • The Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW)
  • Local government

It is possible that the fire may be managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) or local government. Visit DPaWs  alerts page or contact your local government.

If you can see or smell smoke then it could be that DPaW, DFES, local government or private landowners may be conducting a prescribed burn.

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How can I find out today’s Fire Danger Rating for my area?

Fire Danger Ratings are issued by the Bureau of Meteorology and are publicised by DFES when there is a rating of severe or above.

Check the Fire Danger Ratings page to find out whether your area has a rating at severe or above.

If your area is not listed on that page, you can find out the Fire Danger Rating for your area by going to the Bureau of Meteorology’s website and clicking on the relevant section of the map.

To find out more about the ratings and what they mean click here.

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How often are community alerts issued during a bushfire?

The frequency of the alert depends on the level of threat.

For a bushfire the national warning system is:

  • An Advice is issued at 11 am and 4 pm unless the situation changes.
  • A Watch and Act is issued every two hours unless the situation changes.
  • An Emergency Warning is issued every hour unless the situation changes.
  • An All Clear is issued once when the threat has passed.
  • Click here to understand what you should do at each alert level (PDF - 48 KB)

Alerts and warnings for other hazards such as cyclones, floods, storms and earthquakes are issued at different intervals, according to the type of incident, level of threat and how the incident is changing.

Click here for more information about Warning Systems.

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What is the bushfire warning system?

Community alerts are issued by DFES when a bushfire is approaching and during the phases of a bushfire.

There are three alert levels for bushfire: Advice, Watch and Act, and Emergency Warning.

  • Click here to understand what you should do at each alert level (PDF - 48 KB)

To learn more about warning systems, click here.

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Why isn’t there a fire truck at my place when a fire is coming?

During a major bushfire, firefighters will be working to stop the fire from spreading. A fire truck will not be available to defend every home. You are encouraged to be prepared for bushfires to reduce the impact at your property.

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What should I do with my evaporative air conditioner during a bushfire?

Run the air conditioner to wet the filter pads.

When smoke enters your home or ash and embers start to drop around your house, switch the air conditioner off, but keep water running through the system where possible.

Monitor the air conditioner and the area around your home for spot fires until the danger has passed.

If there is a power failure at the time, wet the air conditioning filter pads using a garden hose.

Due to Government regulations, DFES is unable to recommended specific vendors of Ember Protection Screens. Click here for DFES’s information fact sheet about these screens. DFES recommends that individuals contact a steel fabrication company and request the fabrication of a cover to the details specified in this sheet.

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What bushfires does DFES manage?

DFES manage rural and urban bushfires in Gazetted Fire Districts.

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What bushfires do the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) manage?

DPaW manage bushfires that occur on land they manage including state forests, timber reserves, national parks, conservation parks and nature reserves.

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What bushfires do local government manage?

Local government manage bushfires outside of Gazetted Fire Districts.

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