The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) issues warnings to inform the community about the risk of bushfires in the local area. The warning information is provided by way of community alerts. WA BAL Report considers it important for those living in bushfire-prone areas to learn and understand the different types of community alerts to properly assess the risk posed.
Community alerts may use different bushfire warning levels, based on the increasing risk to life and property and the decreasing amount of time that exists to act before the fire arrives:
- Advice – this is issued when a fire has started but there is no immediate danger, however the DFES wishes to provide general information to keep the community informed and up to date with developments. At this point, the fire is likely to be small and controllable by firefighters and there is no threat to lives and homes. You should stay alert and aware of the situation and monitor your surroundings by watching for signs of a bushfire, especially smoke and flames, and keep up to date. Check the Fire Danger Rating for your area and close all doors and windows. Advices are issued at 11am and 4pm unless the situation changes.
- Watch and Act – this means that a fire is approaching and conditions are changing. The fire is officially out of control and there may be smoke and embers around your home and on roads. There is a possible threat to lives and homes. Firefighters will be working with machines to put in containment lines to halt the spread of the fire. At this point, you should put your bushfire survival plan into action. If you have decided to leave for a safer place, do so now, before the roads are closed and blocked by smoke and debris. Remember to take your survival kit. If you have made the decision to stay and defend your property, it is advisable to put your preparations into action. Watch and Act warnings are issued every two hours unless the situation changes.
- Emergency Warning – means that you are in danger and need to take immediate action to survive as you will be impacted by fire. This is the highest level of warning meaning the fire is out of control and moving very rapidly. Firefighters will have difficulty controlling the fire and will be relying upon significant firefighting resources and favourable weather conditions to bring the situation under control.
If you have not yet left the home and the way remains clear, you should leave immediately for a safer place and take your survival kit with you. If you have not yet prepared your home, it is now too late to do so and it is instead urged that you leave for a safer place if the way is clear.
An emergency warning may be supported with the Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) siren. A SEWS is given during emerging situations of extreme danger. This is an alert siren signal that is played on public media such as the radio, television, public address systems and mobile sirens and is followed by an urgent safety message. An Emergency Warning is issued every hour unless the situation changes.
- All Clear – means the danger has passed and the fire is under control, however you should remain vigilant in case the situation changes. It may not yet be safe to return home and firefighters will still be working to put the last parts of the fire out and ensure the area is safe. Emergency services will advise when it is safe to return home. Also keep in mind dangers such as smoke, fallen trees and downed power lines will continue to pose hazards.
WA BAL Report urges that you pay close attention to the DFES bushfire warning system and the community alerts and warnings issued to effectively gauge your risk levels and act appropriately.
For more information
WA BAL Report are accredited Level 1 BAL Assessors and are experts at conducting Bushfire Attack Level Assessment Reports and bushfire prevention in general in Perth and Western Australia. For more information, contact our friendly staff on 08 6114 9356 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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