The Ahnslen Federal Early Warning System or AFEWS for short, is a nation-wide emergency warning system that alerts the public to events that have a high likelihood to create high risk situations to lives or cause serious injury. Although in the script of The Signal it mentions property, it is not a criteria by which the system is activated. It is managed by Emergency Responders Ainslie, the peak body which oversees the various different emergency services across all electorates of Ainslie. The usage of the system is governed by the National Civil Contingencies Act 1975. The system has been activated for events such as tsunamis, cyclones, bushfires, avalanches, plane crashes, terrorist attacks, jailbreaks, floods and major storms although its usage is not necessarily restricted to these events.
Author's Note: Subject to change, re: Imperial War Canon changes
An early form of the system was established by use of the radio in the first year of World War Two, to alert residents to take shelter in areas that were at immediate risk of air raid. However, this system was not required during the Second World War as Ainslie remained neutral and faced no major public emergencies due to the conflict.
However, the system was to be used in 1973 when a dry summer led to catastrophic bushfires in western Wesland which had become by then the major population centre of Ainslie. One set of fires lasted ten days and prompted the evacuation of over twenty communities and forced the haphazard mass evacuation of outersuburban suburbs near Menindara.
An inquiry was immediately launched into Ainslie’s emergency management capabilities with sobering results for electoral and federal levels. For a nation prone to natural disasters such as bushfires, cyclones and avalanches in some areas, the current arrangements were understood to be inadequate in the eyes of the inquiry. An emergency management summit was launched within months of the inquiry beginning, leading to a national framework being established in 1974 and legal regulation of the new measures being passed through the Parlai in 1975. Liam Sperren, the Prime Minister at the time, said the following of those years:
“Somehow this issue flew under the radar. We have had a sobering and frightening reminder of what happens and what can happen if we ignore the intrinsic importance in having modern emergency management capabilities. This cannot happen again.”
This new system has been used multiple times in the past fifty years, with major events rendering its usage being Cyclone Nate and the May 2019 fires in Western Wesland. The new AFEWS utilises SMSs, automated landline messages, public address systems, radio, television and social media which was added in 2019.
The Ahnslen Federal Early Warning System is operated by Emergency Responders Ainslie on behalf of the Electoral Council of Ainslie. It is funded in accordance with the Emergency Management Commitment Act 1973 which passed through the Electoral Council, paving the way for the Emergency Procedures Act 1975. It can be sent to a limited geographical area or to whole electorates or the nation, at the discretion of emergency management officials.
Alerts are broadcasted via mobile connection, landline connection, television, radio and through public address systems established in public places. Most recently, it has been rolled out to major social media platforms. The majority of AFEWS Alerts, if through landline, television, radio or through public address systems, will have the AFEWS tone played before the commencement of the message. This will often be followed by the words Emergency! Emergency! Pay attention to the following details! and conclude by offering where more information can be found.
Ahnslens are unable to opt out of the system and they do not need to sign up for it. Whilst orders will be given to all television and radio providers to disseminate AFEWS messages, public broadcasters or those with significant links to the Government are often the most reputable source to find these messages.
If the alert is given by telephone, the number calling or messaging will be “09 8765 4321”. If given on social media, it will appear as an alert when you first connect to the website or on your home screen. If given over television or radio it will normally accompiany the AFEWS tone.
The system is not always activated when there is a threat to human safety and instead more conventional warning systems will be used in place. It can also be given to specific geographical areas or to wide areas. The Ahnslen Government advises that people should not wait for a message before they act.
The AFEWS Tone is a distinctive audio signal which alerts the community to a broadcast containing important safety details about a major emergency. The tone is often only used when there is a serious threat to lives or the risk of serious injury to people within 0-18 hours of the time of said broadcast. It was adopted nation-wide in 1976 following the deadly bushfires of 1973 that almost reached Arnton and was the trigger for mass outer-suburban evacuations of the city.
The tone, consisting of ascending sirens playing after a descending siren is normally accompianied by a digital voice reading the following: