FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Current at 09 February 2017

Who to contact if you see a Fire

Around Australia, telephone 0 0 0 in an emergency.   Other numbers are below.

Victoria                     1800 226 226

New South Wales    1800 679 737

Northern Territory   08 8999 3473

South Australia        1300 362 361

Queensland                000

A.C.T.                             000

Western Australia     13 3337

For W.A.   



Emergency Fire Alerts Systems around Australia




Western Australia

Emergency Alert is a telephone warning system employed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and other hazard management agencies in order to send emergency information to communities via landline and mobile telephones.

In November 2012 Emergency Alert replaced the previous WA system called StateAlert.

Emergency Alert is not used for every incident DFES ( Western Australia ) responds to. A DFES Incident Controller assesses the level of danger to the community and if lives and homes are under direct and imminent threat, he or she will request an Emergency Alert be issued within that specific geographical area.

To learn more about Emergency Alert telephone warnings,   click here.



About the System – in use around Australia

Emergency Alert is the national telephone warning system used during an emergency to send messages to landlines and mobile phones within a defined area where lives and homes are deemed to be under direct and imminent threat.

You do not need to register to receive a telephone warning. All landline and mobile telephone numbers (including silent numbers) are automatically registered based on their service address.

In an emergency, telecommunications providers send voice messages to landlines and text messages to mobiles that have a registered service address within the affected warning area. Please contact your telephone provider to ensure your service address details are current.

Text messages can also be sent to mobile telephones based on the last known location of the handset. This is designed to reach visitors and travelers in the area under threat.

Emergency Alert relies on telecommunications networks to send messages and delivery cannot always be guaranteed. There are a range of reasons why you may not receive a message including network coverage issues, your phone being turned off or on silent, or your inbox being full.

Do not wait and see

No matter how you become aware of an emergency, whether it is via phone, from a neighbour or by seeing smoke or flames, take immediate action for your own safety. Do not rely on receiving a warning message to your phone.

New Western Australian Bush-Fire warning system – what the icons means

Go to the new Emergency website for your State.

  1. Click on Key / Legend down the bottom, to view the icons in use & their meanings. If you see “Locate Me” in the upper right, click on it, so that you will receive Warnings relevant to where you live.


Click on any of the events in the banner on the side, which will bring up detailed information, and the icons will appear at the bottom, with their meanings.


Internet source for Fire alerts  –  go to the FB Post below


Radio source for Fire alerts and information

Around Australia –  click below to get the Station number for your local ABC radio


Perth, Western Australia –  Listen to 6PR at  the 882 AM station


Fire-fighting resources

National Aerial Firefighting Centre   –  click on the FAQ for info around the States


The National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) was formed by the Australian States and Territories in July 2003 to provide a cooperative national arrangement for combating bushfires. It achieves this by facilitating the coordination and procurement of a fleet of highly specialised firefighting aircraft that are readily available for use by State and Territory emergency service and land management agencies across Australia.


Western Australia:  Fighting fires from the air

Thursday 15 October 2015 – 9:00 AM

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) District Officer Mike Stewart has seen bushfires from just about every angle.

District Officer Stewart has spent the last 10 years fighting some of Western Australia’s biggest bushfires from the air as both an Air Attack Supervisor and an Aerial Intelligence Officer.

“From a helicopter above the fire, an Air Attack Supervisor coordinates the water-bombing aircraft to support firefighters efforts on the ground,” District Officer Stewart said.

“Aerial Intelligence Officers also operate from high above the fires. They  use a specially equipped helicopter with thermal imaging equipment and geospatial computers to gather intelligence about a fire for the incident management team.”

District Officer Stewart said there was a common misconception that water-bombing aircraft could ‘save the day’ by putting out huge fires.

“Aerial firefighting is just one part of the bigger picture of responding to bushfires – it supports ground crews and helps carry out the incident controller’s plan for combatting the fire.

“Firefighters on the ground and aircraft each have their role to play. Air support is incredibly  important in a large fire but our priorities are the same – to protect life and property, critical infrastructure and the environment.

“If life or property  is under threat, we can see that coming, alert the firefighting crews and get there to protect them if needed.”

District Officer Stewart said aerial firefighting was the most intense job he has ever done.

“Flying around a fire is some of the most dangerous flying you can do. You’re flying at low altitude with very poor visibility  due to smoke, in a crowded airspace with other aircraft and birds.

“Drones are an added danger for air support personnel. They are a threat and aircraft cannot fight fires safety with drones in the area – it’s that simple.

“Aerial firefighting really  tests you both physically  and mentally, but knowing you’re helping to protect lives, including those of your colleagues – is totally worth it.”

The value of air support is also in early  suppression to stop a small fire from developing into a major fire before crews on the ground can respond.

“Often air crews can get to a fire within a few minutes of it breaking out, which helps reduce the spread of the fire and its overall impact.

“Aerial intelligence officers quickly  map the shape of the fire and provide accurate information to ground crews to ensure they  are working effectively and most importantly that they are safe.”

Helitacs pick up water from the closest water source such as a dam or lake, while fixed-wing aircraft land at nearby  airfields to refill.

District Officer Stewart said aircraft refilling in metropolitan areas was an unusual sight and often attracted a crowd.

“While we understand a helitac filling up with water looks impressive, we ask that people stay  a safe distance away.

“During refilling, dust and water spray  from the rotors can cause injury and the helitacs must have a clear area to land in an emergency.”

The aerial fleet responded to a record number of incidents during the 2014-15 bushfire season.

Fixed wing bombers based in Perth, Bunbury,  Manjimup and Albany responded to 183 fires and conducted 2214 drops, over 900 more than the previous year.

The State’s helitac fleet based in Perth and Busselton had a record year attending 178 incidents and conducting 9,625 drops totalling over 25.7 million litres – nearly double the volume of the 2013-14 season.

This year, the first aerial firefighting aircraft will again be ready for duty from 1 November, with the fleet increasing to full strength by  20 December.

DFES Deputy Commissioner Steve Fewster said that aerial intelligence and fire suppression are invaluable tools when it comes to fighting fires, but people need to be bushfire ready.

“You cannot rely on a water-bombing aircraft saving your property this summer – you need to take responsibility and ensure you are prepared for bushfires,” Deputy  Commissioner Fewster said.

“Simple actions to take include pruning back trees, cutting long grass, clearing your roof gutters and removing rubbish from around your house.

“A well prepared property has a better chance of surviving a bushfire.”

For information on how to prepare for and respond to bushfires visit www.areyouready.wa.gov.au.

District Officer Stewart was deployed to the United States on Saturday 22 August as part of an Australian contingent helping to fight dozens of bushfires burning across the western part of the country. He returned on Wednesday 30 September.



Wayne Gregson turns down aerial support – January 2016

January 2016.  WA Fire Commissioner, Wayne Gregson admitted that NSW fire authorities offered two water bombers, a DC-10 and a much smaller C-130, to help with firefighting efforts in the South West but they were turned down.


Aerial Fire Defence Western Australia


What is dropped on fires from the air?

See http://www.nafc.org.au/portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabindex=2&tabid=3

Water is only used when there can be a very quick turnaround – this is normally the province of helicopters that can re-fill themselves while hovering over a nearby water source.  Dams and other fresh-water sources are used where available.    Salt water can be used by Class 1 Helicopters.  Click on the link above and scroll down the page to the section “Can you use salt water?”

Who to report Arsonists to



Preparation & What to do in a Fire

  • Have fuel in your car and a road map or your mobile device with maps enabled.
  • Have 2 bags packed with your valuables e.g. photo albums, gifts, jewellery, books, that you will take with you if you have to leave your house.
  • Have a suitcase ready, to pack your clothes into, in the event you leave your house.
  • Have your mobile telephone charged and with credit.
  • Plan where you will go – e.g. to a family member or a friend’s place, to a Council building, to a Park, the beach or to a police station.
  • Keep a battery operated Radio with A.M. stations available – to tune into updates.
  • Have your gutters clear & your lawns cut short and cut down over-hanging branches of trees.
  • Follow the government guidelines for protecting or building your property if you live near bush-land.
  • Be vigilant – report suspicious behaviour.
  • Look out for smoke.
  • Check the websites for alerts before you leave work, to head home.
  • Protect your house with a bubble of white light
  • Pray to Archangel Uriel ( weather angel ) to keep you and your house safe from the elements, and your loved ones
  • Upon arising and going to sleep, ask your Guardian Angel to protect you.
  • Visualise cooler temperatures and rain.



Familiarize yourself with the website of the Fire Services in your State first, for information.  The link below will show these websites.


Below is information by Joan Webster that may help you.


Arson & Reckless lighting of Fires – Legislation –

laws around Australia

related to purposely and recklessly lighting fires



For websites on mitigating (reducing the spread) of fires – and preventing fires.