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Emergency Alert - Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is Emergency Alert?

Emergency Alert is a telephone warning system that government authorities can use to send alerts to communities via landline telephones and mobile phones. Voice or text messages are sent to phone numbers based on either their service address or location. It is a national web based system used in all States and Territories.

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How many times has Emergency Alert been used?

Since Emergency Alert became operational on 1 December 2009 it has been used on 500 separate occasions nationally and well in excess of 7 million messages have been issued. The system has been used in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory for a range of emergencies. These include storm, flood, bushfire, storm surge, chemical incident and missing person emergencies.

(Current as of 9.00am 3 July 2012)

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Is Emergency Alert a fail-safe warning system?

No. It is important that you do not rely on receiving an alert, you and your community must still prepare yourselves and have an action plan in case of an emergency. Along with monitoring government websites and media reports, Emergency Alert is a tool to keep you informed, but you must be ready to act at any time.

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Why is Emergency Alert being 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.

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How is Emergency Alert different from StateAlert?

There will be no change to how you receive text or voice alerts through Emergency Alert, but the new system offers greater flexibility and improvements from the previous system. Unlike StateAlert, there is no ‘opt in’ registration and you will not be able to register multiple addresses for warnings or choose how you receive the warning.

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Can I still register more than one address?

No, you will not be able to register more than one address to receive Emergency Alerts. However, the new system will have the ability to send more messages to landline and mobile telephones in areas that are being impacted by emergencies. It will also have the capability to send text messages to mobile phones that are travelling in an area under threat.

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When will Emergency Alert start in WA?

The new system will be in place for the 2012/13 bushfire season. Trialling of the system’s world first location based messaging system in WA is planned for August and September 2012.

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Do I have to register for Emergency Alert?

No, there is no need to register or sign up to Emergency Alert. All landline and mobile telephone numbers (including silent numbers) will automatically receive a warning. You will not be able to ‘opt out’ of the alerts.

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I subscribed to StateAlert, when will I stop getting warnings?

You will continue to receive StateAlert warnings via each method you have registered until November 2012. After this date, you will receive Emergency Alerts. These alerts will only be sent to landline and mobile telephones based on their service address or location that is being impacted by an emergency.

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I subscribed to StateAlert, will I be contacted about the change?

You will only be contacted if you have personally registered for StateAlert. If you have registered multiple email, mobile and landline contacts, you will be sent information advising you of the transition to Emergency Alert.

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How will I be able to tell that I have received an Emergency Alert?

You will be able to recognise an Emergency Alert message because the number displayed on the message header or caller identification will be 0444 444 444. This is the number assigned to the service.

For more frequently asked questions on Emergency Alert, please visit:
www.emergencyalert.gov.au/frequently-asked-questions.html.

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