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

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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.

The Australian Warning System has been designed based on feedback and research across the country and aims to deliver a more consistent approach to emergency warnings, no matter where you are. It uses a nationally consistent set of icons to show incidents on websites and apps, supported by calls to action.

There are three warning levels:

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: 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.

Previously, there has been different warning systems for different hazard types across Australia. Now, the Australian Warning System aims to provide consistent warnings to Australian communities so that people know what to do when they see a warning level. Over time, the system will be used for more types of incidents in more places around the country. 

Read more about the Australian Warning System (PDF 144KB)

Australian Warning System icons

A consistent set of hazard icons has been developed for each warning level. There are icons for cyclone, bushfire, flood, extreme heat, storm, and other. There is a consistent shape and colour scheme, with icons increasing in size as the warning level increases. 

View national hazard icon design guidelines (PDF 605KB)

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, and contextualised for each hazard within each state or territory.
Advice Watch and Act  Emergency Warning
  • Prepare now
  • Stay informed
  • Monitor conditions
  • Stay informed/threat is reduced
  • Avoid the area
  • Return with caution
  • Avoid smoke
  • 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 attack
  • Move to higher ground (away from creeks/rivers/coast)
  • Limit time outside (cyclone, heat, asthma)
  • Avoid the area/avoid the flooded 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)
  • Leave/evacuate (immediately, by am/pm/hazard timing)
  • Seek/take shelter now
  • Shelter indoors now
  • Too late/dangerous to leave