Victoria has become the first state to adopt the new national emergency warning system, following a recommendation by the royal commission into the Black Summer fires.
From Tuesday, the VicEmergency website, app and social media channels will use the nationally-approved warning levels of “Advice”, “Watch and Act” and “Emergency Warning” and people will also be advised exactly what to do in an emergency.
Previously in Victoria, directions to prepare to evacuate and evacuate were issued as their own warning levels, but will now fall under either “Watch and Act” or “Emergency Warning”.
The changes come after all states and territories agreed to issue a standardised, national warning system for fires, floods, extreme heat, severe weather and cyclones, as recommended by the 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
From today, emergency warnings on VicEmergency will allow the most important direction to be seen immediately in the headline.
— VicEmergency (@vicemergency) December 14, 2021
The commission was told people got confused by different warning systems in different states during the 2019-20 bushfires.
At the time of the fires, a national framework had been in the works for more than five years but was yet to be adopted.
Acting Emergency Management Commissioner Chris Stephenson said the transition for other states and territories is ongoing but once complete, residents and interstate visitors will all be interacting with the same warning system.
Do you know when emergencies are happening near you?
By setting up notifications on the @vicemergency app, you can stay informed wherever you are, no matter what you’re doing.
Download the Vic Emergency app today via the App Store or Google Play. pic.twitter.com/B7MlhC17RE
— VICSES News (@vicsesnews) December 14, 2021
“In the case of a hazard that spans two states, both will use the same icons, and warning level names and colours,” Acting Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner Chris Stephenson said in a statement.
“Residents and visitors will not have to navigate two separate systems, which will make directions much clearer.”
NATIONAL WARNING CATEGORIES
- Yellow or Advice: An incident has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up to date in case the situation changes
- Amber or 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
- Red or Emergency Warning: The highest level of warning. You may be in danger and you need to take action immediately. Any delay puts your life at risk.