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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:

  • 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.

Important to note

There are some limitations to the Emergency Alert system, such as if you have a 4G mobile phone on the Optus or Vodafone networks. 

Limitations in technology on those networks mean your phone must have used the 2G or 3G network (such as making or receiving a call or text message) in the previous hour for the location based messages to work. Work is underway to prevent this issue.

This issue affects only location based messages (your phone's last known location).

Just like any messaging system, your mobile phone needs to be on and in mobile reception to receive a message.

You can read more about the limitations and considerations for Emergency Alert messages at the Emergency Alert website

Do I need to register?

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.

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.