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Telephone Warnings

Emergency Alert LogoDuring a fire, you may receive warnings over your landline or mobile telephone. These use a system called Emergency Alert.

Emergency Alert messages can be sent to a designated warning area:

  • Based on your landline location – if your landline phone is in the warning area, your phone may ring and a recorded message will give you information about what you need to do.
  • Based on your mobile phone's billing address – you may get a text message on your mobile, if your mobile phone's billing address is in the warning area.
  • Based on your mobile phone's last known location – if your mobile handset has recently been in contact with a mobile phone tower in the warning area, you may receive a text message.

There are some limitations which may prevent you from receiving a message - such as if your landline is busy, your mobile is switched off, or if there is no coverage in your area.

If you are connected to the NBN, you should also be aware that your landline telephone may not work in the event of a power outage, and this may prevent you from receiving a message.

For this reason, don't wait for a warning. Use a range of channels, including our website, Fires Near Me app, social media and local media to source information.

Do I need to register?

No.

You do not have to opt-in for Emergency Alert. It uses the national telephone database, so even if you have a private number you can received a message.

The key thing to remember is – don't wait for a warning. Some fires start and spread so quickly there may not be any time for a warning.

When are Emergency Alert messages sent?

Not all incidents will require an Emergency Alert message being sent to phones in an area.

Where there is an immediate threat to life, Emergency Alert messages may be sent. Typically, these incidents will appear on our website and in the Fires Near Me app with a red diamond and be labelled 'Emergency Warning'.

I didn't receive a message during a recent emergency. Why?

There are a number of reasons why you may not receive a warning message.

Firstly, not all incidents will require an Emergency Alert message being sent to phones in an area.

There are some limitations to the system such as if your mobile phone is switched off or doesn't have power, or there is no mobile coverage in the area you're in.

If your landline is busy or isn't answered, the Emergency Alert system will keep trying to call you for a set period but if you do not answer the call, you won't receive the message.

If you're on the NBN, you should also be aware that your landline telephone may not work in the event of a power outage, and this may prevent you from receiving a message.

I received a message but wasn't close to the emergency. Why?

Sometimes, we send messages by identifying mobile phones connected to towers in an area. Because of the way these towers work and the broad area they cover, people outside of the immediate area may receive a message.

You should check if the message applies to you or the area you're in.

How can I find out more?

The NSW RFS does not manage the Emergency Alert system. It is operated by Telstra and the NSW RFS is one of many users of the system. Find out more on the Emergency Alert website.