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VIDEO: Our commercial opens in an urban domestic setting. We watch a family engaged in a group activity. In the immediate foreground, and out of focus, a home phone sits on a table. We barely notice it.
VIDEO: Suddenly, a flashing light sweeps across the room drawing our gaze. Above the phone a bright flashing light has appeared.
VOICEOVER: During times of emergencies...
VIDEO: A close-up on the phone gives us another perspective. It’s an emergency warning light in miniature hovering just above phone.
VOICEOVER: … such as bushfires and extreme weather events…
VOICEOVER: … your landline or mobile phone,
VIDEO: Out of a kitchen window we can see a middle-aged woman look up from her gardening to her phone as it rings. She has noticed the light that appears on this phone as well.
VOICEOVER: … may be used to send you an emergency warning,
VIDEO: From an alternative angle we see the same woman pick up the phone. The light blinks out she puts it to her ear.
VOICEOVER: …including warnings sent to those in an area affected by an emergency.
VIDEO: We cut to a new scenario in a regional setting. We see a wide shot of a 4WD towing a pop-up caravan. It is obviously the vehicle of a family travelling on holidays.
VIDEO: We cut to the interior of the 4WD and notice a mobile phone in a mobile phone holder attached to the front console. An emergency warning light in miniature is hovering above the mobile phone.
VIDEO: We can see that the flashing light has caught the attention of the female front passenger who reaches for the mobile phone as if to read an incoming text message.
VOICEOVER: This ‘Emergency Alert’…
VIDEO: The woman passenger reads the warning message on her mobile phone
VOICEOVER: … phone…
VOICEOVER: … or text message…
VIDEO: We cut to a farmer by his tractor. He has received his text message by Emergency Alert.
VIDEO: We cut to a farmer by his tractor. He has received his Emergency Alert by text message.
VIDEO: A tight close-up of a laptop computer as mother and daughter look at a website.
VOICEOVER: … is another way for authorities to tell you what to do.
VIDEO: We cut to the family preparing to take action.
VOICEOVER: … but you still need an emergency plan.
SUPER: ‘Emergency Alert. Be warned. Be informed.’
VOICEOVER: For more details visit emergencyalert.gov.au
The Emergency Alert national telephone warning system is one way emergency services can warn the community of emergencies such as bushfires, floods and severe weather events.
Emergency services can use Emergency Alert to send recorded voice messages to landline telephones and text messages to mobile telephones in an area affected by an emergency.
Authorised emergency services personnel in all states and territories operate the warning system. They will decide if a warning needs to be issued, how the warning will be issued, the area to be warned and the content of the message.
The warning message will provide information on the current emergency, what action to take and where to find further information.
For mobile telephones, warning messages can either be sent based on the registered service address of the mobile telephone, or the last known location of the handset at the time of the emergency.
It is important you ensure that the registered service address for your mobile telephone is current. You should contact your mobile telephone service provider to update your address. There is no cost to receive the warning message, you do not need to register and you cannot opt out. Even if you have a silent number, your telephone can be sent a warning message.
It is important that you and your community do not rely on receiving a telephone warning. People should be adequately prepared in the event of an emergency, continue to use a range of information sources and stay aware of local conditions. You should not wait to receive a warning message before you act.
The system can send messages to both landline and mobile telephones. If you live in a mobile telephone ‘blackspot’ area or where there is potential for loss of power during an emergency, you should ensure you have a landline telephone that is not reliant on a power connection to receive the warning message. It is important not to rely on your mobile telephone to receive a warning but tune into the radio, check emergency services websites and stay aware of conditions outside.
Emergency Alert system issues voice and text warning messages in English. Members of the community are encouraged to discuss emergency preparedness with family, friends and neighbours who do not speak English, so they are able to act if they receive a warning message.
When you answer your landline phone you may hear the Standard Emergency Warning Signal, which sounds like this [play as underlay], followed by the words ‘Emergency, Emergency’. If you do not understand the message or its content, you should ask a family member, friend or neighbour for assistance.
0444 444 444 will be displayed as the sender of the warning message, verifying the message is from an authorised emergency services organisation. If you call this number back, you will receive a generic voice recorded announcement that states your telephone has received an emergency warning message.
If your children have mobile telephones, they may be sent a warning message. It is important to explain to them what to do if they receive a message. If your child receives this warning message when they are at school, they must follow the emergency procedures currently in place at their school. The same applies if you receive a warning message on your mobile phone while at work. Telephone based emergency warnings do not replace existing workplace emergency procedures. You must follow current emergency procedures at your workplace and school.
So how does the Emergency Alert warning system work? There are five stages for issuing a warning message through Emergency Alert:
The Emergency Alert system will call landline telephones for 45 seconds and if unanswered, a second attempt is made. If you have an answering machine there is no guarantee that a message will be left. Telephone Typewriter services, or TTY, are not supported by the Emergency Alert system.
The warning system has the capacity to send up to 500 text messages per second and 1,000 voice messages per minute.
It is important that you and your community do not rely on receiving a warning message. People should be adequately prepared in the event of an emergency, continue to use a range of information sources and stay aware of local conditions. You should not wait to receive a warning message before you act.
Emergency Alert. Be warned. Be informed.
For further information on the system visit emergencyalert.gov.au.