FAQ

This page includes the questions we are most often asked, by you, the community.
We are committed to bringing you the best possible information and helping you understand emergencies better.
So if there is something you want to know, then let us know, or contact your local emergency services.

Where does the information on the website come from?
The information on this site is sourced from a number of agencies, including from the State and Federal Governments. This includes details of incidents reported by members of the public to authorities and alerts and warnings from emergency agencies. List of agencies involved in Emergency WA
What information is available on this site?
Emergency WA was developed to improve the way emergency information is provided to you.

The site offers a range of features, in addition to the alerts and warnings you may be familiar with from the old DFES website.

Emergency WA provides:
  • A live feed of incidents reported to DFES.
    When a fire or other incident is reported, basic information about the type and location of the hazard will be published to Emergency WA.
    This new level of information means you can now find out about a fire as soon as authorities do.
  • Warnings from multiple emergency management agencies. When an incident escalates a warning may be issued to provide more details and specific safety advice to the community. Warnings can be issued by DFES, DBCA's Parks and Wildlife Service or other emergency management agencies.
  • Total Fire Bans and Fire Danger Ratings. Check the Fire Danger Rating and Total Fire Bans for your area by selecting the appropriate layer from the Filter button, or by clicking the following links: www.emergency.wa.gov.au/#totalfirebans www.emergency.wa.gov.au/#firedangerratings
  • The ability to choose the information you want to see. By clicking on the Filter button you can switch on and off different types of information, such as incidents, Total Fire Bans and Fire Danger Ratings.
  • An interactive, map based layout. Research shows that map based information is quicker and easier for most people to understand. However, if you prefer to see the information in text form only, you can do so by visiting: www.emergency.wa.gov.au/textonly.html
Emergency WA is an ongoing project for the WA Government, and further improvements and refinements will be made over the years to come. If you have any suggestions for the types of information you would find useful, please feel free to contact us.
What is an Incident?
Emergency WA provides a live feed of active incidents in addition to the alerts and warnings you may be familiar with.

As soon as an incident is reported to DFES, Emergency WA publishes basic information including the type and location of the incident.

This feature provides more information to the public than ever before, and means you can find out about an incident as soon as we do.

If the incident escalates to the level that lives and homes are potentially threatened, a community warning may be issued with more detailed safety information. Warnings will either be attached to the Incident, or appear nearby on the map and in the list view.

Remember emergencies can happen quickly and there may not always be time to issue a warning before life and property is under threat. If you feel threatened, don't wait to put your survival plan into action.

You can choose to hide incidents from the website by clicking the Filter button and unchecking Incidents.
What is a Prescribed Burn?
The Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions manage most Prescribed Burns in WA.

Prescribed Burns may be conducted to lower flammable fuel loads to reduce the risk, size and severity of bushfire or for nature conservation.

Active Prescribed Burns will be published on the Emergency WA website. If smoke affects you:
  • It is recommended you shut doors and windows, and turn off air-conditioners.
  • People with asthma and pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses should follow their pre-prepared treatment plan.
  • People with conditions exacerbated by smoke should take precautions in line with their medical advice for these circumstances.
More information on Prescribed Burns can be found on the DBCA's Parks and Wildlife Service website.
What is a Burn off?
Burn offs can be conducted by Local Governments, State Government agencies, or members of the public.

When the manager of the Burn off reports it to DFES, in line with their permit requirements, it will be published on the Emergency WA website.

If smoke affects you:
  • It is recommended you shut doors and windows, and turn off air-conditioners.
  • People with asthma and pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses should follow their pre-prepared treatment plan.
  • People with conditions exacerbated by smoke should take precautions in line with their medical advice for these circumstances.
What is a Total Fire Ban?
Total Fire Bans are declared because of extreme weather conditions or when widespread fires are seriously stretching firefighting resources.

When a Total Fire Ban is declared it prohibits the lighting of any fires in the open air and any other activities that may start a fire.

For more information about Total Fire Bans, including what you can and can't do when one is declared, visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/totalfirebans

For current Total Fire Bans visit www.emergency.wa.gov.au/#totalfirebans
What are Fire Danger Ratings?
Fire Danger Ratings are based on 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 bushfire increases.

For more information about Fire Danger Ratings visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/bushfire/pages/firedangerratings.aspx

For current Fire Danger Ratings visit www.emergency.wa.gov.au/#firedangerratings
How can I find Total Fire Bans and Fire Danger Ratings?
You can find the Total Fire Ban or Fire Danger Ratings for today and tomorrow by clicking on the Filter button on the Emergency WA website, and switching on the relevant map overlays.

You can also follow these links to access the bans and ratings for today:

www.emergency.wa.gov.au/#totalfirebans

www.emergency.wa.gov.au/#firedangerratings
Who is in charge of emergencies in WA?
Preparing for and responding to emergencies is a shared responsibility between the Government, community and individuals. Whether you are the first person to be on scene at an emergency, the first one to call 000, provide medical assistance or help to control the situation, we all have a role to play

Getting prepared for emergencies is one of the best ways that you can get involved.

The agency with oversight of an emergency from a State Government perspective is called the hazard management agency. Many other government agencies may be involved to help provide their specialist expertise.

For more information about the management of emergencies refer to the State Emergency Management Committee at www.semc.wa.gov.au
Why didn't someone let me know there was an emergency near me?
Emergencies can strike at any moment, and there may not always be enough time to issue a warning before life or property is under threat.

It is important to seek information from a variety of sources and be prepared to take action to keep yourself safe. If in any doubt, take action straight away.

For more ways to find emergency information visit www.emergency.wa.gov.au/#getinformed
What should I do when an emergency strikes?
You need to act immediately to give yourself, your family and property the best chance of survival.

Put your own survival plan into action, and follow the directions of emergency services. Keep listening to radio stations to get the latest available information.

Stay aware of your surroundings and keep in touch with neighbours, family and friends.

For more information about making a survival plan and preparing for emergencies visit www.emergency.wa.gov.au/prepare
Who will protect me during an emergency?
It is your responsibility to take action during an emergency. Stay aware of your surroundings and follow advice from emergency services.

If your area is prone to natural hazards, or you are travelling through high-risk areas you need to educate yourself, be prepared and be ready to act.

Emergency services will do everything possible to protect lives and homes, but with potentially thousands of people and homes threatened, and the need to cover one of the largest jurisdictions in the world, unfortunately we can't be everywhere at once.

For safety information visit www.emergency.wa.gov.au/prepare
What should I do with my pets?
It is your responsibility to prepare for the safety and welfare of your pets and farm animals during an emergency. It is a good idea to have a pet emergency kit and survival plan for your animals to help guide your actions during an emergency.

Check with your local shire if there are animal welfare arrangements in place.

It is important to note that most evacuation centres do not have the capabilities to accept animals. You may need to make alternative arrangements with family and friends who live away from the area.

For more information visit the DFES Animals and Emergencies page.
The information listed for an emergency is inaccurate or doesn't appear on your website at all - what should I do?
First, make sure you aren't in any immediate danger. Act for your own safety.

Then, if the situation is life threatening, call 000 to report it.

You should also report all fires that the emergency services aren't yet aware of to 000.

If the error is an incorrect place name, road closure information or other inaccuracy in the information provided, then please contact the agency that has issued the warning to let them know. The name of this agency will appear within the warning.
Can I sign up to receive a warning?
You can sign up to receive an RSS feed which provides free updates to your computer at designated times when website content is updated.

More information on the RSS feeds available.

Your Local Government or other providers may also have emergency notification systems in your local area.

You do not need to register to receive Emergency Alert Telephone Warnings. All landline and mobile telephone numbers (including silent numbers) are automatically registered to the system. More information about the Telephone Warning System

More information about how to receive emergency information
I'm concerned about family members/friends who may be impacted by an emergency - who can I contact?
First, try to contact them directly, or indirectly using friends, neighbours or colleagues.

During major incidents the Red Cross may set up the Register.Find.Reunite hotline.

For more information about an emergency please refer to the warnings issued by the agency in charge.

If you have serious concerns for the safety and welfare, you can file a missing persons report to your local police.
My home is in the affected area and I'm not there. How do I know if my property is okay? When can I return?
It is understandable that you may be anxious to find out what's happening.

The first priority of emergency responders is to protect life and property at the scene of the incident, so it's important to be patient and let them do their jobs.

They will be doing all they can to reduce the risk to your property and the people in the area.

During an emergency, even after the immediate threat has passed, there will be other hazards such as burnt or fallen trees, loose debris and damage to roads and infrastructure.

Residents will be allowed to return once the agencies in charge are confident the area is safe.

Do make sure you let your family and friends know you are safe in the meantime, as they may be looking for you.
How can I help during an emergency?
Most of the time donations of food or goods are not necessary and cannot be stored or distributed during the emergency response.

However, in the wake of a major emergency we need a list of support volunteers on hand who are willing to help those affected.

If you are interested in helping in a support role (not frontline) in times of need, please register at http://emergency.volunteeringwa.org.au/

During major emergencies the Lord Mayor's Distress Relief Fund may be activated to coordinate financial donations. More information is available at www.appealswa.org.au
Got another question? Let us know.
We will put the most often asked questions on this page. You can email us at: emergencywa@dfes.wa.gov.au

Please note this inbox is monitored during normal business hours. Due to the volume of enquiries received we can't respond to each one personally. However, your feedback is important to us and will help us to plan future improvements to this site.

If you need to report a life threatening emergency, please call 000. For information about a current incident, please check the warnings page or contact the agency in charge.