What is the Australian Warning System (AWS)?

The AWS is a new national approach to information and warnings during emergencies and natural disasters like bushfire, flood, storm, cyclone, and extreme heat. It uses a nationally consistent set of icons to show incidents on websites and apps.

Until recently, there has been different warning systems for different emergencies across Australia. The AWS is being introduced so that people will see the same consistent warnings, no matter where they are in the country or what type of emergency is occurring.

In Tasmania, AWS:

  • For bushfires was adopted in September 2021 by Tasmania Fire Service (TFS).
  • For flood emergencies is adopted in September 2022 by Tasmania State Emergency Service (SES).
  • For storm emergencies will be adopted from 2023.

Know your bushfire warnings

Messages in the warning symbols

The AWS is a three level warning system that has been developed based on community research. It provides a clear and consistent warning message, with each type of level allocated a specific name, colour, and symbol for the type of emergency.

Fire Warnings Flood Warnings Warning Messages
Fire Warning Advice Level Advice (Yellow):
An incident has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up-to-date in case the situation changes. (May also be used to advise that a threat has reduced).
Watch and Act (Orange): 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 (Red):
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.

What to do in an emergency

The new warnings will describe the location, expected or estimated impact of the threat, community information, and other relevant warnings. AWS will be issued with a set of call-to-actions tailored to an emergency, which advises people what to do.

Standard call-to-actions messages for fire and flood emergencies are include in the following table.

Advice Watch and Act Emergency Warning
  • Prepare now
  • Stay informed
  • Monitor conditions Stay informed/threat is reduced
  • Avoid the area Return with caution







  • 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 attacks (fire)
  • Move to higher ground (away from creeks/rivers/coast – flood)
  • Avoid the 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  
  • Leave/evacuate (immediately, by am/pm/hazard timing)
  • Seek/take shelter now
  • Shelter indoors now
  • Too late/dangerous to leave  







Where to find the latest bushfire and flood warnings

Bushfire and flood warnings will be issued on TasALERT. Warnings will also be available on TFS Facebook (fire), SES Facebook (flood), and social media channels. Tune in to ABC Radio to hear the latest warnings.

Visit the Australian Warning System website for more information about the AWS.

Other warnings in Tasmania

There are other weather and incident warnings issued in Tasmania, separate from fire and flood warnings. These include shark sightings, tsunami and health emergency alerts, issued by other emergencies management authorities.

Visit TasALERT to understand these warnings. When an emergency happens, you can make an informed decision about your safety and keep up-to-date with current alerts.

Smoke Alert

Although not a part of the AWS, TFS also issues smoke alerts to provide information about smoke from a fire, bushfire or fuel reduction burn that may impact a community or area of Tasmania.

Alerts will be issued on TasALERT website and TFS Facebook with the smoke alert icon.

Smoke Alert Icon