DFES - Department of Fire and Emergency Services
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Warning Systems

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) issues a range of warnings to inform and keep the community safe during significant incidents threatening lives and property.

Warnings give advice to you about the levels of risk and danger and the actions to take.

DFES issues warnings for a wide range of incidents including bushfire, cyclone, tsunami, flood, storm, earthquake and hazardous material spills.

Warning information can be provided in the form of community alerts with the use of the Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) during emerging situations of extreme danger and by using an Emergency Alert.

For bushfire safety, Fire Danger Ratings (FDR) are also used as a warning to advise people about current fire conditions.

The declaration of a Total Fire Ban (TFB) is another prevention measure to warn you against lighting any fires in the open air and any other activities that may start a fire due to predicted bad fire weather.


Click here to understand the Bushfire Warnings Levels

Bushfire Warning System

During a bushfire, emergency services will provide as much information as possible through a variety of channels.

Community Alerts

DFES issues Community Alerts for bushfires that threaten lives and property.

The alert level changes to reflect the increasing risk to your life and the decreasing amount of time you have until the fire arrives.

DFES issues the following bushfires warnings:

  • Advice
    A fire has started but there is no immediate danger, this is general information to keep you informed and up to date with developments.
  • Watch and Act
    A fire is approaching and conditions are changing, you need to leave or prepare to actively defend to protect you and your family.
  • Emergency Warning
    You are in danger and you need to take immediate action to survive as you will be impacted by fire. An emergency warning may be supported with a siren sound called the Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS).
  • All Clear
    The danger has passed and the fire is under control, but you need to remain vigilant in case the situation changes. It may still not be safe to return home.

Click here for DFES's Alerts and Warnings page

Related information

Fire Danger Rating (FDR)

The FDR is based on forecast weather conditions providing advice about the level of bushfire threat on a particular day.

The FDR is based on the forecast weather conditions and gives you advice about the level of bushfire threat on a particular day. When the rating is high, the threat of a bushfire increases.

Click here for more information about Fire Danger Ratings.

Flood Warning System (BoM)

Warning and Alerts

Flood watch and flood warning information issued by the Flood Warning Centre (FWC) is described in the following paragraphs.

Flood Watch

Flood Watch provides information to generate early awareness of developing hydro meteorological conditions, which may lead to possible or likely flooding in a particular district during the next 24 to 72 hours. Messages will make short generalised statements about the developing weather situation, including forecast rainfall totals, the current state of the catchments and the indication of the rivers at risk from flooding. Enable people and the community to take action to increase safety and reduce the cost associated with flooding.

Flood Warning

Flood Warning provided information to enable timely appropriate action to be taken when flooding is anticipated or occurring. Messages are issued for specific river basins and, where possible, will provide sufficient information to explain what is happening, where it is happening, how it will affect the recipient of the message and what possible evasive actions could be deployed.

Cyclone Warning System

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issues cyclone advice to the public in the form of a Cyclone Watch and Cyclone Warning.

Community Alerts

DFES then issues Community Alerts to keep people informed and safe.

The alert level changes to reflect the increasing risk to your life and advises what you need to do before, during and after a cyclone.

DFES then issues the following cyclone alerts, Blue, Yellow, Red and All Clear.

  • Blue Alert
    Get Ready for a cyclone. You need to start preparing for cyclone weather.
  • Yellow Alert
    Take action and get ready to shelter from a cyclone. You need to prepare for the arrival of a cyclone.
  • Red Alert
    Take shelter from the cyclone. You need to go shelter immediately.
  • All Clear
    The Cyclone has passed but take care. Wind and Storm surge dangers have passed but you need to take care to avoid the dangers caused by damage.
  • Cyclone Watch
    Is used when damaging winds or gales are expected to affect communities within 48 hours.
  • Cyclone Warning
    Are issued when damaging winds or gales are likely to affect communities within 24 hours.

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