Australian Warning System: know the signs

Following the launch of the Australian Warning System (AWS) in the 2020-21 southern fire season, the Federal Government is funding a $2 million national education campaign, encouraging Australians to “know the signs in an emergency”.

The education campaign will initially appear on social and digital channels, with resources designed to be adaptable for local agencies to best determine and target key audiences in their jurisdictions.

“Know the signs” will focus on the three warnings:

  • Advice: An incident has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up to date in case the situation changes.
  • Watch and Act: There is a heightened level of threat. Conditions are changing and you need to start taking action now to protect you and your family.
  • Emergency Warning: The highest level of warning. You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk.

AIDR is managing the campaign, with a steering committee with representatives from each jurisdiction overseeing the development to ensure it is appropriate and adjustable for the needs of their community.

AIDR Executive Director Amanda Leck reflected on the amount of hard work and goodwill of agencies to get to the AWS to a point where a national campaign can occur:

“Fire and emergency services across Australia have worked incredibly hard to achieve the Australian Warning System, and we’re thankful for this $2 million from the Federal Government to promote and help educate the community about what they can expect when the system is fully implemented.”

The AWS has been applied across bushfire settings, with other hazards being implemented in a staggered approach based on the operational systems and priorities of the emergency service agencies. The education campaign will reflect this with the materials designed for use beyond the life of the funded campaign.