Australian Warning System

As part of a new Australian Warning System, the way we display incidents has changed. The Australian Warning System is a new national approach to information and warnings during emergencies like bushfire, flood, storm, extreme heat and severe weather. The System uses a nationally consistent set of icons, like those below. The AWS has been designed based on feedback and research across the country and aims to deliver a more consistent approach to these types of emergencies, no matter where you are. Australia’s fire and emergency services aim to provide you with timely and relevant information during emergencies. Refer to your local agency website for information on any current warnings and incidents in your community.

The Australian Warning System is a new national approach to information and Calls to Actions for hazards like bushfire, flood, storm, cyclone, extreme heat and severe weather.

Know the Signs:

How you receive warnings may not change, but the wording, colours and call to action may be different to what you’re used to, as this system is implemented across Australia. Refer to your state or territory’s emergency service’s website for how to stay informed during an emergency.

What is a Warning?

A warning provides point-in-time information about a hazard that is impacting or is expected to impact communities. It describes the impact and expected consequences for communities and includes advice on what people should do.

What are the warning levels?

There are three warning levels:
Advice (Yellow):
An incident has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up to date in case the situation changes.
Watch and Act (Orange):
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 (Red):
An Emergency Warning is the highest level of warning. You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk.

What's changing?

Up until now there has been different warning systems for different hazard types across Australia. The new Australian Warning System aims to provide consistent warnings to Australian communities so that people know what to do when they see a warning level. If you live in a Bushfire risk area, you may already be familiar with the new warnings - they were implemented across bushfire agencies in the lead up to the 20-21 Fire Season. Over time, the new system will be used for more types of incidents in more places around the country.

Calls to Action

Each warning level has a set of action statements to give the community clearer advice about what to do. Calls to Action can be used flexibly across all three warning levels depending on the hazard.


  • Prepare now
  • Stay informed
  • Monitor conditions
  • Stay informed/threat is reduced
  • Avoid the area
  • Return with caution
  • Avoid smoke

Watch and Act

  • Prepare to leave/evacuate
  • Leave/evacuate now (if you are not prepared)
  • Prepare to take shelter
  • Move/stay indoors
  • Stay near shelter
  • Walk two or more streets back
  • Monitor conditions as they are changing
  • Be aware of ember attacks
  • Move to higher ground (away from creeks/rivers/coast)
  • Limit time outside (cyclone, heat asthma)
  • Avoid the area
  • Stay away from damaged buildings and other hazards
  • Prepare for isolation
  • Protect yourself against the impacts of extreme heat
  • Do not enter flood water
  • Not safe to return
  • Prepare your property (cyclone/storm)

Emergency Warning

  • Leave/evacuate (immediately, by am/pm/hazard timing)
  • Seek/take shelter now
  • Shelter indoors now
  • Too late/dangerous to leave