Effective emergency warnings

Emergency Management Australia has asked the Victorian Department of Justice to review Australia’s national warning system, to come up with best practice.


The review is underway and should be finished by the end of the year.

Emergency warnings are now common-place in Australia and the community has come to expect them, and agencies which do not provide warnings are quickly the subject of stringent review, including and up to Royal Commissions. The next step is to ensure the warnings are effective.

In my experience, and based on research from my favorite authors, Miletti and Sorenson, Handmer, McClennan and Paton, this would be a template for an effective warning.

We will test this against some of the warnings issued over the next few months.

The event

  • What’s happening?
  • What’s going to happen?
  • How serious is this?
  • What’s it mean for me?
  • When is it happening?
  • What should I do?
  • Where can I get more information?
  • How can I help my community?

The delivery

  • Immediately
  • Repeatedly
  • Updated
  • By a strong trusted local voice
  • With verification
  • Simultaneously on a variety of platforms several of which should be available to the recipient

The basis

  • ┬áBe based on research
  • The community must know what to do when it hears a warning
  • Be part of our community culture
  • Be comprehensive
  • Be reliable
  • Be consistent
  • Be integrated with all warning platforms and options.
  • Be reviewed, assessed and constantly improved.


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