Emergency Alert. Be Warned. Be Informed.

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What is Emergency Alert?

What is Emergency Alert?

Emergency Alert is the national telephone warning system.

It is one of many ways emergency service organisations such as police, fire and state emergency services, can use to warn a community of likely or actual emergencies.

Emergency Alert is not used in all circumstances. Whether an emergency services organisation decides to issue telephone warnings through Emergency Alert will depend on the nature of the incident.

The warning system sends voice messages to landline telephones and text messages to mobile telephones within a specific area defined by the emergency service organisation issuing the warning message, about likely or actual emergencies such as fire, flood, or extreme weather events.

You should not wait to receive a warning message before you act.

When is Emergency Alert used?

Whether an emergency services organisation decides to issue telephone warnings through Emergency Alert will depend on the nature of the incident.

Emergency Alert is not used in all circumstances. In an emergency you should use a range of information sources and check them continuously to stay aware of local conditions. These information sources may include radio, television and state or territory emergency services organisation websites.

You should not wait to receive a warning message before you act.

What will the warning message say?

The warning message will provide information on the current emergency, what action to take and where to find further information.

What is the Standard Emergency Warning Signal?

The Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) is a distinctive audio signal that alerts the community to the broadcast of an urgent safety message relating to a major emergency.

Emergency services may include SEWS as part of warning messages sent to landline telephones by Emergency Alert.

Listen to the SEWS tone

How many times has Emergency Alert been used?

Since Emergency Alert warning system became operational on 1 December 2009 it has been used on more than 1,000 separate occasions nationally and well in excess of 9.7 million messages have been issued.

The system has been used in all states and territories for a range of emergencies. These include storm, flood, tsunami, bushfire, storm surge, chemical incident and missing person emergencies.

 

What services are available for those who don’t speak English?

No. 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.

Print advertising will be translated in up to 30 languages as well as frequently asked questions (FAQs). Radio and television has also been translated for the respective States and Territories as required.

What capacity does Emergency Alert have?

The system has the capacity to send 500 text messages per second and 1,000 voice messages per minute.

Can I call 0444 444 444 if I missed the original message?

No. Emergency Alert is a one way messaging system.

If you call the number, you will only receive a recorded announcement stating that further information should be sought from sources such as radio or emergency services websites.

Who funded the development of Emergency Alert?

The Commonwealth Government funded the establishment of national Emergency Alert telephone warning system The Victorian Government contributed funds towards the development of the location-based enhancement of the warning system, allowing messages to be to sent all mobiles based on their location, regardless of the carrier.

Each state and territory government contributes to the ongoing costs of using the system, such as sending warning messages.

What is one of the most critical points about Emergency Alert?

Whether an emergency services organisation decides to issue telephone warnings through Emergency Alert will depend on the nature of the incident.

Emergency Alert is not used in all circumstances. In an emergency you should use a range of information sources and check them continuously to stay aware of local conditions. These information sources may include radio, television and state or territory emergency services organisation websites.

You should not wait to receive a warning message before you act.

How do I know if the message is authentic or genuine?

The caller ID number or message header on your phone displays the number '0444 444 444'.

The message tells you where to go for further information. You can also check with other sources, for example radio, websites or neighbours, to confirm the authenticity of the message.

Warning messages on your landline will start with the Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) tone.

I've received a warning message, where can I find out more about the emergency?

It is important that you listen to the voice message on your landline telephone or read the text message on your mobile telephone carefully and understand what action the emergency services want you to take.

The warning message should direct you to sources of further information such as emergency services websites or telephone information lines.

If you missed hearing the message, check information sources including radio, television and emergency services websites for emergency information.

The content of warning messages are not published on this website.

What happens if you receive a warning message on your mobile at work?

You must follow emergency procedures in place at your workplace during an emergency. Warning messages sent through Emergency Alert do not replace existing workplace emergency arrangements.

Who pays for the warning message?

Each state and territory government is responsible for the usage charges. You are not charged and will not have to pay if you receive a warning message sent through Emergency Alert warning system.

Can I 'opt out'?

No. You cannot opt out of being sent a warning message to your telephone.

Who issues warning messages sent with Emergency Alert?

Authorised personnel from emergency service organisations such as police, fire and state emergency services can use the Emergency Alert system to send telephone warning messages.

Whether an emergency services organisation decides to issue telephone warnings through Emergency Alert will depend on the nature of the incident.

Emergency Alert is not used in all circumstances. In an emergency you should use a range of information sources and check them continuously to stay aware of local conditions. These information sources may include radio, television and state or territory emergency services organisation websites.

You should not wait to receive a warning message before you act.

Do I need to sign up to receive warning messages on my phone?

No. You do not need to register to receive warning messages sent through Emergency Alert.

Emergency service organisations can use Emergency Alert to send a warning message mobile telephones based on last known location of the handset and to all telephones based on registered service address.

It is important that the registered service address of your mobile telephone is up to date. You can update your registered service address with your telephone service provider.