DFES - Department of Fire and Emergency Services
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Emergency Alert Telephone Warning System

About the System

Emergency Alert is the national telephone warning system used during an emergency to send messages to landlines and mobile phones within a defined area where lives and homes are deemed to be under direct and imminent threat.

Emergency Alert is not used for every incident DFES responds to. A DFES Incident Controller assesses the level of danger to the community and if lives and homes are under direct and imminent threat, he or she will request an Emergency Alert be issued within that specific geographical area.

You do not need to register to receive a telephone warning. All landline and mobile telephone numbers (including silent numbers) are automatically registered based on their service address.

In an emergency, telecommunications providers send voice messages to landlines and text messages to mobiles that have a registered service address within the affected warning area. Please contact your telephone provider to ensure your service address details are current.

Text messages can also be sent to mobile telephones based on the last known location of the handset. This is designed to reach visitors and travellers in the area under threat.

Emergency Alert relies on telecommunications networks to send messages and delivery cannot always be guaranteed. There are a range of reasons why you may not receive a message including network coverage issues, your phone being turned off or on silent, or your inbox being full.

Do not wait and see

No matter how you become aware of an emergency, whether it is via phone, from a neighbour or by seeing smoke or flames, take immediate action for your own safety. Do not rely on receiving a warning message to your phone.

Other sources of information

It is important to remember that Emergency Alert is just one way of receiving information during an emergency. Other ways you can stay informed include: 

Important Message for Vodafone and Optus 4G Customers

DFES has been advised that Vodafone and Optus 4G customers may not receive a location-based warning message sent to an area within 4G coverage. This also affects customers of mobile phone re-sellers that connect to Optus’ 4G networks*.

The Emergency Alert website provides an explanation about the limitation for Optus and Vodafone 4G customers.

If you are concerned about how this might affect you, check your mobile service provider’s coverage maps and contact your provider for advice on your options. These options include adjusting the settings on your mobile to switch off the 4G service. Your mobile will then revert to 2G and 3G networks, which are fully compatible with Emergency Alert.

*This affects: Virgin Mobile’s 4G customers and Optus’ wholesale partners who resell the Optus 4G network including iiNet, Internode, Exetel, M2 (consisting of the Dodo, iPrimus and Commander brands), ACN, Blink, SpinTel, Jeenee Mobile, Live Connect and Vaya.

Where can I get more information?

For more information on Emergency Alert,  visit: www.emergencyalert.gov.au

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