Find out if you live or work in or near a flood-prone area. Your council can help you. Remember, you can still be affected by floods even if your property is not inundated by floodwater. You may become isolated or access to areas may be cut. If you live or work in or near a flood-prone area:
- The Local Disaster Management Plan includes specific flood information relevant to the Burdekin Shire.
- Know the height at which your home, business and/or property may be affected by floodwater. Find out how deep the water could get in and around your property
- Find out the safest route to travel in the event that you may need to evacuate and identify the height at which your evacuation route may be cut
- Find out where any evacuation centres will be set up in your area if there is a flood. If you prefer, check with friends and relatives who live close by to organise a place to go if evacuated
- Keep local emergency numbers handy (For example, near your phone or on your fridge)
- Put together an Emergency Kit for your home and business
You can download the current Local Disaster Management Plan using the following link:
- 2015 Local Disaster Management Plan - (pdf 1.51 MB)
In the event of a flood make use of the following guidelines and recommendations.
Before the Flood
- Listen to your radio.
- Heed all warnings and advice.
If a flood comes
- Collect your emergency evacuation kit and listen to the radio for official advice.
- Anchor down anything which might float away.
- Switch off electricity and gas if you must leave home.
- Avoid entering flood waters on foot or in a vehicle.
- DO NOT drink flood waters.
- DO NOT attempt to cross a flowing stream on foot if the water is above your knees.
- If driving, know the depth of the water in a dip before crossing. The road may not be intact under the water.
- A stalled vehicle can be swept away by rapidly rising water. Abandon the vehicle if necessary.
- Avoid travelling long distances, motorists can be stranded for days at a time.
After the flood
- If you had to evacuate, DO NOT return home until advised, then use the route recommended.
- Continue to listen for additional weather warnings and advice.
- Help injured or trapped neighbours.
- Be wary of fallen power lines, damaged buildings, unstable tree branches, and hidden dangers associated with any flooding.
- Electrical equipment that has been water damaged should be dried and checked by a qualified electrician before use.
- When entering buildings use extreme caution.
- Check the fridge and freezer for spoilage.
- Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until advised by Burdekin Shire Council that supplies are safe for consumption.
- Throw away any food that has come into contact with flood waters.
- Pump out flooded basements gradually to avoid structural damage.
- Repair damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible as they pose a health hazard to yourself, your family and your neighbours.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
- By being aware and taking preventative measures before a flood eventuates, the negative effects of a flood can be lessened.
- Check your local flood history or flood plans through Council. Avoid building on floodplains unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- If you area is flood prone, consider alternatives to carpet on ground levels, such as removable floor rugs, and tiled floors and walls.
- Keep insurance policies, documents and other valuables in a watertight container stored in a high place in your house. You will need your personal papers after the impact to ensure speedy insurance claims and to access bank accounts, etc. Do not forget to take the container with you if you have to evacuate.
- Raise your electrical panel to a high position above flood level.
- Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your house. This will prevent raw sewage from contaminating your house.
- Construct floodwalls to stop floodwater entering your home. You will need to check with Council Engineering Staff to confirm the regulations pertaining to the construction of floodwalls and levees in your area. You may not be allowed to build a floodwall in your area.
- Seal walls in basements, or those regularly exposed to flooding, wither waterproofing compounds to prevent seepage through cracks.
- Have a builder add a waterproof veneer to exterior walls of your house.
- Keep a supply of sandbags, and sand to fill them with, available to sandbag doors to prevent water from entering your house.
- List emergency phone numbers in a clearly visible location.
- Prepare an emergency kit.
- Do not camp in dry river beds as they can become flooded without warning.
For more information please visit: Get Ready Queensland – Flood Information
Preparing for a Tsunami
What is a tsunami?
A tsunami is a series of fast moving waves produced during large scale ocean disturbances. A tsunami can occur with very little warning, caused by a variety of natural or technological events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, explosions, landslides, and meteorite impacts.
A tsunami is different from regular ocean waves in several ways:
- A tsunami is a series of sea waves that are extremely long. As a tsunami crosses a deep ocean the length from crest to crest may be as much as 150 kilometers and these waves can travel at speeds of 1000 km/h.
- As a tsunami leaves the deep water of the ocean and travels to the shallower water near the coast, the tsunami slows and the wave height increases. This process is called shoaling. A tsunami that is unnoticeable at sea, because of its long wave lengths, may reach several meters or more in height by the time that it reaches the coast.
- Regular ocean waves move in the water from the surface down to around 150 m deep, but a tsunami moves in the water all the way to the seafloor. Therefore the volume of water that is moved by a tsunami is significantly more than the amount moved by regular ocean waves.
- As many tsunami are a series of waves, there is often more than one wave and the first wave may not be the largest.
- Depending on whether the first part of a tsunami to reach the shore is a crest or a trough, it may appear as a rapidly rising or falling tide.
Because of the limited warning time for a tsunami, it is very important for you to plan and prepare your family or household for a tsunami in advance.
What can you do to prepare for a tsunami?
- Contact your local council to find out about the risk of tsunami in your community.
- Familiarize yourself with information about tsunami and the natural warnings signs, such as earthquakes, rumbling/ roaring sounds or sudden changes in the behavior of coastal seas (the sea level may recede dramatically.).
- Visit the Bureau of Meteorology website for more information. The Bureau of Meteorology has the overall responsibility for issuing tsunami warnings in Australia. (http://www.bom.gov.au/info/tsunami/tsunami_info.shtml)
- If you visit coastal areas regularly, familiarize yourself with the tsunami history of these areas and identify the areas that may be prone to flooding.
- Develop an Evacuation Plan with your family or household. Identify the nearest high ground and the safest routes to it. Practice your Evacuation Plan with your household.
- Ensure that your Emergency Kit is up to date and that you and your family / household know where it is.
- Ensure that you have a battery-powered radio and spare batteries.
- If you live near the sea, ensure that your home has an electrical safety switch installed.
What should you do when a Tsunami Warning is issued?
- Listen to your local radio station for information and instructions.
- Listen carefully to the warning and act immediately on the advice provided. Check that your neighbors have received the advice also.
- If you are on land and instructed to evacuate, immediately move inland or to higher ground at least 10 meters above sea level, or, if possible, move at least 1km away from all beaches, harbors and coastal estuaries / riverbank areas.
- It will be in your own interests to walk to safety if possible to avoid traffic jams.
- If you are unable to leave the area, take shelter in the upper level of a sturdy brick or concrete multistory building and stay there until advised that it is safe to leave (homes and small buildings are not designed to withstand tsunami forces.)
- Make the following preparations if you are advised to evacuate:
- Lock your home and follow recommended evacuation routes for your area.
- Take your emergency kit with you, as well as important papers, medical needs, photographs and pets.
- Keep listening to your local radio station for further information and instructions.
- Wait for the all-clear before returning to your home.
- If you are on a ship or boat at sea, move to deep water (open ocean).
- If you are on a boat or ship in a harbor or estuary or shallow water close to shore and there is sufficient time, return to land, secure your vessel and move to higher ground.
What should you NOT do when a Tsunami Warning is issued:
- DO NOT go towards the water to watch a tsunami:
- Tsunami move significantly faster than normal wind-driven waves and can move faster than people can run.
- Once you see the tsunami it is too late to escape.
- The backwash of a tsunami is extremely dangerous. As the large volume of water recedes back towards the ocean, it may carry debris and people back to sea with it.
- DO NOT enter the water:
Even a small tsunami causes strong turbulence and very dangerous currents.
What can you DO after a tsunami?
- DO NOT drive through water of unknown depth and current.
- DO NOT return to coastal areas / low lying areas until an all-clear is given by emergency services or public officials.
- DO NOT return to port if you are on a ship or boat until advised that it is safe to do so:
- Damaging wave activity and unpredictable currents can affect harbours for some time after the initial tsunami impact.
- When you are advised that you may return to areas impacted by tsunami, enter buildings with caution. Check for damage to gas fittings, electrical fittings, sewerage and water systems.
- Help injured or trapped persons where possible and remember to keep yourself safe from injury when providing assistance. Call Triple Zero for Ambulance, Fire and Rescue and Police in an emergency. Remember to check on your neighbors who may require special assistance.
What should you NOT DO after a tsunami?
- DO NOT go near flooded and damaged areas until the emergency services or public officials advise that it is safe to return.
- DO NOT drink unboiled tap water until water supplies have been declared safe:
Queensland Health recommends that, where possible, water should be brought to a rolling boil for approximately one minute before being used for drinking, food preparation or making ice. This simple precautionary measure should ensure that any risk to public health attributable to a contaminated water supply is minimized.
- DO NOT eat food which has been immersed in flood waters.
- DO NOT use gas or electrical appliances which have been immersed in flood waters until they have been checked and declared safe.
Severe storms include thunderstorms and land gales. Thunderstorms can produce hail, wind gusts, flash floods, tornadoes, and, lightning which can cause death, injury and damage to property. Land gales are simply gale force winds that occur over the land.
What is a severe storm?
There are two types of severe storms: thunderstorms and land gales. Thunderstorms can produce hail, wind gusts, flash floods, tornadoes, and, lightning which can cause death, injury and damage to property. Thunderstorms are more common and generally more dangerous than land gales. Land gales are simply gale force winds that occur over the land.
What you can do to prepare for severe storm season?
- Be aware of severe storm patterns in your area (contact your local council for advice);
- Trim trees, remove overhanging branches and clear gutters and downpipes, clear yard of loose materials and rubbish;
- Secure loose roof tiles or sheets;
- Protect sky lights with wire mesh and fit glass windows and doors with shutters or insect screens;
- Prepare an emergency kit (emergency phone numbers, portable radio, torch, spare batteries, first aid kit, strong plastic bags for clothing, valuables, and plastic sheets, timber strips, hammers and nails for temporary repairs);
- Check boats are securely moored, or protected on land; and
- Check home insurance is current and adequate (Include building debris clean up/disposal costs).
What you can do when a severe storm approaches?
- Listen to a local radio station for severe storm advice and warnings;
- Shelter and secure animals;
- Put loose garden furniture, toys etc inside;
- Park vehicles under solid shelter or cover with firmly tied tarpaulins/blankets;
- Secure all external doors and windows and draw curtains;
- Keep valuables, medications, spare clothing in plastic bags and your emergency kit handy; and
- Disconnect all electrical items, external TV/radio aerials and computer modems.
What you can do when a severe storm strikes?
- Listen to your (portable) radio for severe storm updates;
- Stay inside and shelter well clear of windows, doors and skylights;
- If the building starts to break up, shelter in the strongest part (cellar, internal room, hallway or built-in wardrobe) under a mattress, doona or a strong table or bench;
- If outdoors, seek solid enclosed shelter;
- If driving, stop clear of trees, power lines and streams; and
- Don’t use a fixed telephone during a severe storm due to lightning danger.
What you can do after a severe storm has hit?
- Listen to your local radio station for official Advices and Warnings;
- Check for structural property damage and cover with plastic sheeting and nailed on wood strips;
- For emergency assistance refer to your emergency phone numbers or contact your local Council;
- Beware of fallen powerlines and trees, damaged buildings and flooded watercourses; and
- Don’t go sight-seeing.
If you need emergency assistance from the SES during a flood or storm call 132 500.
For further information please contact The Burdekin Shire Council on 4783 9800 or go to the following websites:
Storm tides are a rapid rise in sea level and can cause significant destruction and flooding in coastal lowlands.
What is a Storm Tide?
- A Storm Tide is a general rise in the sea level from a combination of strong winds around a cyclone’s eye and low barometric pressure.
- The level of this rise increases as a cyclone approaches shallow coastal waters, and can result in tides of 5m or more above the normal high-tide level.
- This rapid rise in water can be accompanied by high wave action causing significant destruction and flooding in coastal lowlands.
What to do in a Storm Tide
- Listen to your radio.
- Heed all warnings and advice.
- Refer to any evacuation advices and procedures.