There has never been a better time to download the VicEmergency app

18 February 2021

Today’s announcement by Facebook to restrict news content on its platform is a clear reminder to all Victorians to ensure they have access to the latest credible and reliable information, particularly during an emergency.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said Facebook’s decision was a timely wake-up call for Victorians not to rely on just one news source for important emergency warnings.

“While all VicEmergency content is still available on Facebook (External link), Victorians should never rely on a single commercial channel or news source for important information on current warnings,” Commissioner Crisp said.

“In Victoria, there are many options available to keep you safe during an emergency, particularly at this time of year.

“Summer is not just about bushfires. It also presents a higher risk of storms, heat and flooding. Grass fires remain a high risk across our state after more summer rainfall has seen growth in our grasslands.”

The easiest and quickest way to stay informed is to download the free VicEmergency app. Nearly 2.7 million Victorians have done this already. The app can be personalised by creating ‘watch zones’ for any area, so alerts are sent for incidents and warnings nearby. It’s available through the App Store (External link) or Google Play (External link).

There are also other ways to access VicEmergency information, through the handle @vicemergency on Twitter (External link), the website (External link) and the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

Victoria also has over 50 emergency broadcasters so find one in your area. These include ABC Radio, selected commercial and community radio stations, and Sky TV.

Deaf, hard of hearing, or those with a speech or communication impairment can contact the VicEmergency Hotline via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.

Culturally and linguistically diverse communities can call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50 and ask them to phone the VicEmergency Hotline.

For comprehensive planning and preparedness messaging for all emergency events, please visit the Understanding Warnings page on the VicEmergency website (External link).

Preparing for an emergency, fire or flood event, including during COVID-19 restrictions:

  • If you need to leave your home due to extreme weather, heat, bushfire or flood, please do so. Follow your normal evacuation or relocation plans in a COVIDSafe way.
  • You can leave your home if your health and safety, or the health or safety of someone you live with is at risk. You can travel to a friend or family member’s home, or book into alternative accommodation like a hotel or motel.
  • Regardless of your location, continue to follow COVID-19 precautions and maintain appropriate physical distancing.
  • If you have COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and need to evacuate, please don’t hesitate to leave. Wear a face mask and contact the Department of Health on the number you have been provided as soon as you can.

Talk to your local fire service, family, friends and neighbours about the fire risk where you live and make a fire plan for what you’ll do on hot, dry, windy days. Plan what your trigger is to leave, and where you will go to stay safe.

'Leaving early' means being away from high-risk areas before there are any signs of fire. It does not mean waiting for a warning or a siren or waiting to see or smell smoke.

Resources are available to help community members increase their understanding of local fire or flood risks, prepare their properties and plan how to stay safe.

Visit the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) website (External link) to learn more about how you can best plan and prepare for potential flooding and weather events.

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) host a wealth of resources on their website to help you understand your fire risk (External link) and know what to do before and during a fire (External link).

Media contact

EMV Media

1300 287 289 (External link)