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New warnings scheme launched for Fire Danger Season

01/12/2020

The 2020 Fire Danger Season has now officially commenced for all South Australian districts as the Country Fire Service introduces a new colour and icon scheme to align the state with a national warnings code.

Emergency Services Minister Vincent Tarzia said Fire Danger Seasons have now begun in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Metro, Kangaroo Island and Lower South East districts.

"As we mark the beginning of summer today, recent hot weather and windy conditions have shown that the threat of bushfires is once again well and truly here," Minister Tarzia said.

"The Marshall Government acted swiftly after last season's devastating bushfires, implementing a $97.5m action plan to strengthen South Australia's resilience against bushfires.

"New trucks, equipment and technology has been rolled out as part of our $97.5m response to the Keelty review. Staff and volunteers of the emergency services sector have not missed a beat in preparing for the season ahead."

South Australia's independent review, conducted by former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty AO, and the Federal Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, identified the importance of public warnings during bushfire emergencies.

As a result of ongoing work by CFS Information Operations staff, South Australia is one of the first states to adopt recommended uniform warning symbology and wording.

"This will make official information released during bushfires, and other emergency situations easier to understand, enabling South Australians to act quickly, something which we know is critical for survival," Minister Tarzia said.

CFS Deputy Chief Officer Andrew Stark said the new warnings system is the result of several years of community consultation across the country.

"This was a recommendation of the recent Royal Commission and the Keelty Review into the last bushfire season. I am proud to say that our members have taken lead roles in this project for the past six years of research and development," Mr Stark said.

A new colour scheme and symbology set will be adopted across the country providing consistent public information for hazards including bushfires, cyclones, floods, severe storms and extreme heat.

As of today, CFS will integrate the bushfire symbology into its warnings and website.

"This project led nationally by CFS is a step closer to bringing the whole country under one warnings scheme," Mr Stark said.

"More than 16,500 people were surveyed, including more than 3,000 people in South Australia, to determine the best warning descriptions, colour-coding and symbols to use across the nation.

"The research results have led us to move away from using blue for Bushfire Advice messages, as people associated the colour with a calming effect," Mr Stark said.

"The new colour scheme will be yellow for Advice messages, orange for Watch and Act messages, and red for Emergency Warning messages."

There will also be a uniform range of icons used, with a triangle identified and introduced as the recognised shape for any mapping and warning message icons displayed.

"By using a consistent set of icons to identify hazards across the country we will alleviate any confusion faced by travellers and those living in border communities," Mr Stark said.

"This will also see an introduction of uniform language and directives within the warning messages, which will help to provide clear and familiar language to members of the public who may be in harm's way and need to act decisively."

For more information on CFS warnings visit: https://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/warnings-and-incidents/about-cfs-warnings/

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For media enquiries telephone the CFS Media Line on (08) 8115 3531.

Further information:
Contact the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1800 362 361, for hearing or speech impaired users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1800 362 361 or teletype service TTY 133 677 then ask for 1800 362 361.
Other options are available at National Relay Service.
Or visit www.cfs.sa.gov.au

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