Warnings are a critical component of emergency management. 

Today, the provision of warnings is seen as a priority action in any emergency, equal to any other aspect of traditional response. This applies to any hazard, whether it is a natural hazard such as fire, flood or heatwave, an incident of public safety and security, or a health-related event such as an influenza pandemic.

Across Australia, Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and their emergency service organisations and statutory bodies hold responsibilities for issuing warnings in a potential or actual emergency. Community members and organisations also play a shared role in communicating warnings.

What is public information?

Public information is a term used by emergency management organisations to describe the function and provision of information and warnings to the public during an emergency.

It is best summarised as information provided to the public immediately before, during and after an emergency to reduce the potential impact of an emergency or hazard.

In an approaching or current emergency, communities require a wide range of information including, but not limited to, official warnings. For example, general information about the nature of an approaching hazard, information on looking after your health during an emergency, forthcoming community meetings, local resources, relief and recovery services and other aspects of recovery that impact individuals and the community.

Two Examples:

The Tasmanian Department of Health : uses their webpage to disseminate information to the public about any health concerns or pandemics.

The Australian Government Department of Health  : their information provides daily updates, answering your questions about the latest news, current facts and figures, travel advice, key contact and phone numbers.

What is a warning?

Warnings are a specific form of public information.

A warning provides point-in-time information about a hazard that is impacting or is expected to impact communities. It describes the impact and expected consequences for communities and includes advice on what people should do.

General advice about ever-present hazards, such as living in a fire or flood-prone area, road safety behaviour, or managing health risks, is not considered to be a warning, although such advice might be included in a warning.

Australian Warning System in Tasmania

The AWS is a nationally consistent three level warning system for 5-hazards (bushfire, flood, storm, cyclone, and heat). States/Territories are implementing the AWS at different times subject to their risks and resources. In Tasmania, the AWS for bushfires was adopted in September 2021 by Tasmania Fire Service (TFS).

These warnings will describe the locations, expected or estimated impact, community information and include other relevant warnings. They will be issued with a distinct set of call-to-actions tailored to an emergency to advice people what to do.

The TFS Bushfire Warnings and SES Flood Warnings will be issued on the TasALERT website (TasALERT.com), you will also see the warnings on SES FacebookTasALERT  social media channels, and hear the warnings on ABC Radio.

For more information about the Australian Warning System, please visit: www.australianwarningsystem.com.au

An example of an Information Source-TasALERT-that provides general advice about hazards:


An example of an Information Source – TasALERT – that provides general advice about hazards.


TasALERT is Tasmanian’s official emergency information source.

Follow this link as it provides information for the Tasmanian community about what to do before during and after a flood. The videos are an an excellent resource and the message is clear and precise. It uses language and graphics that are easy to comprehend.