Canberra takes on new, less confusing emergency alerts

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AFTER community findings and research over the past two years indicated confusion around emergency alerts, a new Australian-wide warning system will be used from today (December 1). 

The system has been designed to deliver a more consistent approach for all natural disasters such as floods, storms and extreme weather.

Introduced as part of the new national Australian warning system, it will bring uniformity across all states and territories, says the ACT Emergency Services Agency commissioner, Georgeina Whelan.

In the ACT, the revamped system will affect anyone using the ACTESA website or the NSW Fires Near Me mobile app, the commissioner says.

While the existing three threat levels – advice, watch and act, emergency warning – remain unchanged, the new system will be represented by yellow, orange and red symbols, replacing the blue, orange and red of the old system.

The yellow triangle represents the “advice” level, meaning, if a hazard has started, there’s no immediate danger. It also means people need to stay up to date in case the situation changes.

Orange is for “watch and act”, and means there is a heightened level of threat. Conditions are changing and people need to start taking action now to protect them and their family.

Red means “emergency” and is the highest warning level. It means people may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts lives at risk.

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