Emergency services on the Border have welcomed the launch of a national warning system, but say it's only a first step to improve community safety in natural disasters.
The national warning system gives consistent messaging to residents across Australia, after the Royal Commission into the 2019/2020 summer bushfires found people got confused by different warning systems in different states.
The new national warning categories are:
- Yellow or Advice: An incident has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up to date in case the situation changes.
- Amber or 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.
- Red or Emergency Warning: The highest level of warning. You may be in danger and you need to take action immediately. Any delay puts your life at risk.
When people log on to the NSW RFS Fires Near Me or VicEmergency phone apps, they will see the same emergency warning system.
NSW Rural Fire Service deputy group officer Ian Avage said it was great that people throughout Australia would be given the same emergency warning information.
"Particularly along here in the cross border communities, there's too many inconsistencies in our emergency services," he said.
"This is a huge step in the right direction, that we're all on the same page.
"Fire, flood, all those kinds of natural disasters have no boundaries, so nor should all of our emergency warning systems.
"The people in Victoria come up here for a holiday and vice versa and they're unsure of the messaging, but if they're all the same, there can be no mistakes."
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But Mr Avage said more national consistency was needed in other areas, such as radio communications.
"Up until very recently we've had limited if any communication with the Country Fire Authority, which is literally just across the river," he said.
"We can't communicate, we're on different radio frequencies, we use different radios.
"We're one country, we're not eight different countries within Australia and it should be consistent across the whole country."
SES deputy unit commander for Albury Curtis Kishere welcomed the new national warning system, but agreed with Mr Avage that consistency across radio communication was also needed.
"Definitely when we get those frequencies in they're going to be really good and we're going to be able to respond a lot quicker and it will be better for the community," he said.
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