PO Box 455 Bendigo 3550 info@thebushfirefoundation.org


Understanding Warnings

You should never wait to receive an official warning before you leave.  Fires can start quickly and threaten homes and lives within minutes. Warnings are issued when a fire has started and you need to take action. Make sure you understand the three levels of warnings and what they mean.
Don’t expect warnings to be issued in any particular order. The first warning you could get could be an Emergency Warning.


There are three different levels of warnings:


  • An incident is occurring or has occurred in the area. Access information and monitor conditions.
  • Can also be used as a notification that activity in the area has subsided and is no longer a danger to you.


Watch and Act

An emergency is developing nearby. You need to take action now to protect yourself and others.


Emergency Warning

You are in imminent danger and need to take action immediately. You will be impacted.


Additional messages that may be issued are:

Community Update

Specific information and updates for affected communities regarding a particular event or incident.


Prepare to evacuate / evacuate now

An evacuation is recommended or procedures are in place to evacuate.



How the community are warned

(Click on the top left corner of the youtube video playlist to view other warning and advice videos)

Online – CFA’s warnings and incidents page is aligned with the information provided on the VicEmergency website; the key source for all emergency information in Victoria.
VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.
Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment can contact VicEmergency Hotline via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.
If you don’t speak English, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
Radio & TV – ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations and Sky News TV.
Social media – on twitter @CFA_Updates and facebook.com/cfavic
VicEmergency App on your mobile device
Keep an eye on conditions outside. You might be aware of a fire before the emergency services. If you see flames or a column of smoke, always call 000 immediately.

Alerts and Sirens

Telephone Alerts
A Telephone Alert is one way emergency services can alert the community to official warning information using the National Emergency Alert system.
Incident Controllers can authorise the use of Telephone Alerts to inform the community of any likely or actual emergency within a defined area. When you receive a Telephone Alert you must follow all instructions given, and stay informed by checking official warning sources.

Alerts can be received via:

  • Voice messages (to landlines)
  • Text messages (to mobile phones)

Alerts will begin with “Emergency, Emergency” and will only be received if your landline (based on its billing address) and mobile phone (based on its billing address and the handsets last known location) is within the defined area and has service.

Telephone Alerts are not used in all circumstances, and depends on the nature of the incident. You should not wait to receive a Telephone Alert before you act.

Community Alert Sirens – Community alert sirens are used as part of Victoria’s warning system for all hazards – including flood, fire and storm.

Standard Emergency Warning Signal – (SEWS) A distinctive siren sound may be played over the radio or TV before an alert message is broadcast

SEWS Community Service Announcement (Includes introduction):

SEWS Standard Emergency Warning Signal (Siren sound only):