Download your copy of the new Emergency Action Guide 2017-2019

To ensure that you are prepared for any emergency, download the new Burdekin Emergency Action Guide 2017-2019, the Red Cross RediPlan Disaster Preparedness Guide and the Get Ready Fact Sheets using the following links:

What to do and where to get information:

During emergencies, the Burdekin Shire Council is your official source of information.

  • ABC TV and Radio are the official Emergency News channels. Watch and listen for emergency updates.
  • Tune your radio to your local radio station ABC North Qld 630 AM, Sweet FM 97.1FM or 4TO Townsville 102.3FM.
  • Further information on preparing, emergency alerts and information can be accessed at:

Disasters – what they are, and what to do before, during and after:

Cyclone

A cyclone is a violent tropical storm with very strong winds and heavy rain that can cause extensive property damage and injuries to people. The eye or centre of the cyclone is an area made up of light winds and often clear skies. This is NOT the end of the cyclone as very destructive winds [...]

A cyclone is a violent tropical storm with very strong winds and heavy rain that can cause extensive property damage and injuries to people. The eye or centre of the cyclone is an area made up of light winds and often clear skies. This is NOT the end of the cyclone as very destructive winds from the other direction will follow. Stay inside.

Cyclones are part of living in the north. Most cyclones occur between November and April but cyclones have occurred outside these months.

Before Cyclone Season

  • Check this website, the Burdekin Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre Facebook page and the Bureau of Meteorology website for information:
  • Hold a family meeting to prepare your household Emergency Plan so everyone knows what to do, where to meet and how to get out.
  • Prepare your Emergency and Evacuation Kits.
  • Clean up the yard. Clear away all loose material as it could blow about and possibly cause injury or damage.
  • Trim trees and overhanging branches.
  • Identify how and where to turn off the mains supply for water, power and gas.
  • Keep your roof in good condition and check it regularly.
  • Remove debris from gutters.
  • Check and fix loose fittings, such as railings.
  • Check windows and install shutters if possible.
  • Tie down sheds or other small structures not permanently fixed. Secure caravans, boats and vehicles or tie them together or to strong structures.
  • Check to see if your home has been built to cyclone standards (generally houses constructed after 1982).
  • Know your Evacuation Zone (storm tide) and evacuation routes.
  • Check neighbours, especially if elderly or recent arrivals.
  • Monitor cyclone potential throughout the season:

www.bom.gov.au

Cyclone Warnings

CYCLONE ADVICE

A cyclone advice is a “warning” that advises the location of a cyclone, its movement and intensity, and identifies areas that could be affected. Our information comes from the Bureau of Meteorology.

When a cyclone advice is given, you should:

  • Finalise packing your Emergency Kit.
  • Hold a family meeting to make sure everyone knows your cyclone plan and whether you are staying to shelter in place or evacuating.

CYCLONE WATCH

A watch is issued 48 hours before the cyclone is predicted to cross the coast and is updated every six hours providing information on location, movement and intensity, and areas that could be affected.

When a cyclone watch is issued you should:

  • Decide if your family needs to evacuate, and where you will evacuate to. It’s usually best to shelter in place or evacuate to family and friends out of the cyclone warning area.
  • If sheltering in place, decide which room to shelter in. The best option is an internal room with few or small windows, such as the bathroom. Use mattresses and other bedding to protect yourself.
  • Re-check your property for any loose material and tie down (or fill with water as last resort) all large, relatively light items such as boats and rubbish bins.
  • Check your Emergency Kit and fill water containers and bath tub with clean drinking water.
  • Ensure household members know which is the strongest part of the house and what to do in the event of a cyclone or an evacuation.
  • Tune to your local radio/TV/internet for further information and warnings.
  • Check that neighbours are aware of the situation and are preparing.
  • Ensure your car and jerry cans are fully fuelled. Cyclones nearly always involve power failure which means petrol stations are unable to pump fuel unless they have an alternative power supply.

CYCLONE WARNING

A warning is issued if winds are expected to affect coastal or island areas within 24 hours. The warning is updated every three hours and then every hour if the cyclone poses a major threat.

The warning includes information on location, movement and intensity of the cyclone, areas that are threatened and anticipated rainfall, flooding and storm surge. If you haven’t done so already, a Cyclone Warning should be the trigger to activate your household Emergency Plan.

Depending on official advice provided by the Burdekin LDMG as the event develops the following actions may be warranted for a cyclone warning:

  • If requested by Burdekin LDMG, collect children from school or childcare centre and go home.
  • Park vehicles under solid shelter (hand brake on and in gear).
  • Put wooden or plastic outdoor furniture in your pool or inside with other loose items.
  • Close shutters, board up or heavily tape all windows (tape does not strengthen windows, but minimises the glass shatter if broken), draw curtains and lock doors.
  • Pack an Evacuation Kit to take with your Emergency Kit.
  • Depending on your location, Emergency Services may advise or direct you to leave.

During a Cyclone

  • Have a battery operated radio and tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Remain indoors (with your pets).
  • Keep Emergency and Evacuation Kits with you.
  • Disconnect all electrical appliances.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed so food will stay cool without power for several hours.
  • Stay inside and shelter in the strongest part of the building keeping well clear of windows e.g. shelter in the cellar, internal hallway or bathroom.
  • If the building starts to break up, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets, under a strong table or bench or hold onto a solid fixture.
  • Beware of the calm “eye”. If the wind stops don’t assume the cyclone is over; violent winds will soon resume from another direction. Wait for the official “all clear”.
  • If driving, stop (handbrake on and in gear) – but well away from the sea and clear of trees and powerlines. Stay in the vehicle.

After a Cyclone

  • Have a battery operated radio and tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Don’t go outside until officially advised it is safe.
  • Check for gas leaks and fallen power lines. Don’t use electric appliances if wet.
  • If you evacuated, don’t return until advised. Use a recommended route and don’t panic.
  • Be aware of damage to power lines, bridges, buildings and trees.
  • Do not enter floodwaters – if it’s flooded forget it.
  • Heed all warnings and don’t go sightseeing. Instead, check and offer help to neighbours, friends and family.
  • Don’t make unnecessary telephone calls.
  • Follow any instructions for treating water and discard any food exposed to floodwater.

Storm Surge

A storm surge is a rise above the normal water level along a shore resulting from strong onshore winds and / or reduced atmospheric pressure. The combination of storm surge and normal (astronomical) tide is known as a ‘storm tide’. The worst impacts occur when the storm surge arrives on top of a high tide [...]

A storm surge is a rise above the normal water level along a shore resulting from strong onshore winds and / or reduced atmospheric pressure.

The combination of storm surge and normal (astronomical) tide is known as a ‘storm tide’.

The worst impacts occur when the storm surge arrives on top of a high tide and when this happens, the storm tide can reach areas that might otherwise have been safe. Additionally there are pounding waves generated by the powerful winds.

The combined effects of the storm tide and waves can destroy buildings, wash away roads and run ships aground.

The paths of cyclones are often unpredictable, which makes it hard to forecast exactly when and where a cyclone will cross the coast. This makes it difficult to predict how high the astronomical tide will be when the storm surge impacts, since the time difference between high and low tide is only a few hours. The Bureau of Meteorology issues warnings to the public that are based on the ‘worst case’ assumption that the cyclone will cross the coast at high tide.

 

The difference between storm surges and tsunamis

Storm surges and tsunamis are generated by quite different phenomena. While both can cause inundation and significant damage in coastal regions, they have quite different characteristics.

A storm surge is generated by weather systems forcing water onshore over a generally limited stretch of coastline. It will normally build up over a few hours, as the cyclone or similar weather system approaches the coast.

Normally wind-waves on top of the surge will contribute to its impact.

A Tsunami is generated by earthquakes, undersea landslides, volcanic eruptions, explosions or meteorites. These travel great distances, sometimes across entire oceans affecting vast lengths of coastal land.

Before a Storm Surge

  • Check our website, the Burdekin Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre Facebook page and the Bureau of Meteorology website for information:
  • Hold a family meeting to prepare your household Emergency Plan so everyone knows what to do, where to meet and how to get out.
  • Prepare your Emergency and Evacuation Kits.
  • Clean up the yard. Clear away all loose material.
  • Check and fix loose fittings, such as railings.
  • Check windows and install shutters if possible.
  • Tie down sheds or other small structures not permanently fixed. Secure caravans, boats and vehicles or tie them together or to strong structures.
  • Sandbag areas at risk from flooding, such as doors and windows where possible.
  • Close all doors.
  • Store potable water.
  • Put important documents such as photo albums in plastic bags up high in cupboards.
  • Identify how and where to turn off the mains supply for water, power and gas.
  • Disconnect electrical items.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed so food will stay cool without power for several hours.
  • Move livestock, pets, machinery and animal feed to higher ground.
  • Move outdoor equipment, garbage, chemicals and poisons to a higher location.
  • Know your Evacuation Zone (storm tide) and evacuation routes.

After a Storm Surge

  • Have a battery operated radio and tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Don’t go outside until officially advised it is safe.
  • If you have evacuated, don’t return home until officially advised it is safe and don’t panic. Wait until water has fallen below floor level to enter a house.
  • Don’t use electric appliances if wet.
  • Beware of damaged power lines, bridges and trees.
  • Do not enter flood waters – if it’s flooded forget it.
  • Heed all warnings and don’t go sightseeing. Instead, check and offer help to neighbours, friends and family.
  • Don’t make unnecessary telephone calls.
  • Check whether electricity, gas or water supplies have been affected.
  • Wear rubber boots or rubber-soled shoes and rubber or leather gloves.
  • Watch for damaged flooring, walls and ceilings as well as unexpected visitors such as snakes.
  • Treat all items exposed to floodwater as contaminated. Dispose of rubbish, wash mud, dirt and debris as soon as you can.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling anything that has been in contact with floodwater.
  • Follow any instructions for treating water and discard any food exposed to floodwater.

Flood

A flood is the temporary, partial or complete inundation of land that is normally dry. Flooding can be caused by water that has escaped its natural confine due to heavy rain. Some floods develop slowly, while flash floods can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain.  A flood warning is [...]

A flood is the temporary, partial or complete inundation of land that is normally dry. Flooding can be caused by water that has escaped its natural confine due to heavy rain. Some floods develop slowly, while flash floods can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain.

 A flood warning is issued by the Bureau of Meteorology when flooding is occurring or expected to occur in a particular area. When flash flooding is expected, a severe weather warning is issued.

Drains, creeks or rivers which have had little or no water flow in previous months may fill rapidly with fast-flowing water, which can spread to houses and streets. The height of the water may not have been seen in the same location previously.

There may not have been significant rainfall in our region, however there may have been heavy rain throughout our catchment area, causing river levels to rise quickly. Water levels may also be heightened by high tides happening around the same time.

Before a Flood

  • Check the Burdekin Shire Council website, the Burdekin Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre Facebook page and the Bureau of Meteorology website for information:
  • Hold a family meeting to prepare your household Emergency Plan so everyone knows what to do, where to meet and how to get out.
  • Prepare your Emergency and Evacuation Kits.
  • Clean up the yard. Clear away all loose material.
  • Move outdoor equipment, garbage, chemicals and poisons to a safe location.
  • Move livestock, pets, machinery, and animal feed to higher ground.
  • Identify how and where to turn off the mains supply for water, power and gas.
  • Disconnect electrical items.
  • Tie down sheds or other small structures not permanently fixed. Secure caravans, boats and vehicles or tie them together or to strong structures.
  • Sandbag areas at risk from flooding, such as doors and windows where possible.
  • Store potable water.
  • Put important documents such as photo albums up high in cupboards.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed so food will stay cool without power for several hours.
  • Know your Evacuation Zone (storm tide) and evacuation routes.
  • Check neighbours, especially if elderly or recent arrivals.

During a Flood

  • Have a battery operated radio and tune in to your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Boil tap water in case of contamination.
  • Do not enter floodwaters – if it’s flooded forget it.
  • Never drive, walk, swim or play in floodwaters. Hazards could exist below the surface which you can’t see, regardless of how well you know the area. Water could be contaminated.

After Flood Waters Have Gone Down

  • Have a battery operated radio and tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Know your evacuation routes.
  • If you have evacuated, don’t return home until officially advised it is safe and don’t panic. Wait until water has fallen below floor level to enter a house.
  • Don’t use electric appliances if wet.
  • Beware of damaged power lines, bridges and trees.
  • Do not enter floodwaters – if it’s flooded forget it.
  • Heed all warnings and don’t go sightseeing. Instead, check and offer help to neighbours, friends and family.
  • Don’t make unnecessary telephone calls.
  • Check whether electricity, gas or water supplies have been affected.
  • Wear rubber boots or rubber-soled shoes and rubber or leather gloves.
  • Watch for damaged flooring, walls and ceilings as well as unexpected visitors such as snakes.
  • Treat all items exposed to floodwater as contaminated.
  • Dispose of rubbish, wash mud, dirt and debris as soon as you can and wash hands thoroughly after handling anything that has been in contact with floodwater.
  • Follow any instructions for treating water and discard any food exposed to floodwater unless in airtight containers.

Severe Thunderstorm

A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm, is characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustic effect on the Earth’s atmosphere, known as thunder. They are usually accompanied by  strong winds and heavy rain. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when thunderstorms are expected to produce wind gusts of at least 90 kilometres [...]

A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm, is characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustic effect on the Earth’s atmosphere, known as thunder. They are usually accompanied by  strong winds and heavy rain.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when thunderstorms are expected to produce wind gusts of at least 90 kilometres per hour, tornadoes, lightning, large hail with a diameter of at least 2 centimeters or very heavy rain that leads to flash flooding.

The location of severe thunderstorms is difficult to accurately predict well in advance. As a result, Severe Thunderstorm Warnings will generally have a lead time of no more than an hour.

Before a Severe Thunderstorm

  • Check our website, the Burdekin Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre Facebook page and the Bureau of Meteorology website for information:
  • Clean up the yard. Clear away all loose material.
  • Hold a family meeting to prepare your household Emergency Plan so everyone knows what to do, where to meet and how to get out.
  • Identify how and where to turn off the mains supply for water, power and gas.
  • Disconnect electrical items.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed so food will stay cool without power for several hours.
  • Shelter and secure pets.
  • Move outdoor equipment, garbage, chemicals and poisons to a higher location.
  • Check neighbours, especially if elderly or recent arrivals.

IF STRONG WINDS OR HAIL ARE FORECAST, YOU SHOULD:

  • Put vehicles under cover or cover with firmly tied tarps and blankets.
  • Beware of fallen trees and power lines.

IF VERY HEAVY RAIN AND FLASH FLOODING ARE FORECAST, YOU SHOULD:

  • Keep away from creeks and drains as you may be swept away.
  • Do not enter floodwaters – if it’s flooded forget it.

During a Severe Thunderstorm

  • Tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Move indoors away from windows.
  • If driving, stop clear of trees, powerlines and streams.
  • Avoid using the telephone.

After a Severe Thunderstorm

  • Tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Don’t use electric appliances if wet.
  • Beware of damaged power lines, bridges and trees.
  • Do not enter flood waters – if it’s flooded forget it.
  • Heed all warnings and don’t go sightseeing. Instead, check and offer help to neighbours, friends and family.
  • Don’t make unnecessary telephone calls.
  • Check whether electricity, gas or water supplies have been affected.
  • Wear rubber boots or rubber-soled shoes and rubber or leather gloves.
  • Watch for damaged flooring, walls and ceilings as well as unexpected visitors such as snakes.
  • Treat all items exposed to floodwater as contaminated. Dispose of rubbish, wash mud, dirt and debris as soon as you can.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling anything that has been in contact with floodwater.
  • Follow any instructions for treating water and discard any food exposed to floodwater.

Earthquake

Earthquakes are the vibrations caused by rocks breaking under stress. The underground surface along which the rock breaks and moves is called a fault plane. Earthquakes in Australia are usually caused by movements along faults as a result of compression in the Earth’s crust. The impact of an earthquake depends on its depth, proximity to [...]

Earthquakes are the vibrations caused by rocks breaking under stress. The underground surface along which the rock breaks and moves is called a fault plane. Earthquakes in Australia are usually caused by movements along faults as a result of compression in the Earth’s crust.

The impact of an earthquake depends on its depth, proximity to inhabited areas and rating or magnitude from 1-10 (1 may not be noticeable to 10 causing significant damage).

There may be little if any warning of an impending earthquake – it’s possible you may feel it before emergency services know it’s going to happen.

Earthquakes can occur at any time of day and any time of year.

SIGNS AN EARTHQUAKE IS HAPPENING INCLUDE:

  • Sometimes preceded by stillness and/or unusual animal behaviour.
  • Sometimes sounds such as rolling or rumbling may be heard.
  • Movement of the earth – this could be a jolt or series of jolts of varying intensities and/or a rolling sensation.
  • Inside a building items may fall from the ceiling, walls or out of cupboards, the water in toilets may slosh around and walls may crack if the shock is severe.

Before an Earthquake

  • Hold a family meeting to prepare your household Emergency Plan so everyone knows what to do, where to meet and how to get out.
  • Identify how and where to turn off the mains supply for water, power and gas.

During an Earthquake

IF YOU ARE INDOORS:

  • Take cover – get under a sturdy table, bed or other piece of furniture or doorway. Hold on until the shaking stops.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops. There may be aftershocks.
  • Don’t use lifts.
  • The electricity may go out and sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE:

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls.

IF YOU ARE IN A MOVING VEHICLE:

  • Stop as quickly as safety allows and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges and ramps that might have been damaged.

IF YOU ARE TRAPPED:

  • Do not light a match or use a lighter.
  • Keep as still as possible.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap a pipe or wall or call out so rescuers can locate you.
  • Call 112 if your mobile phone is with you and working.

After An Earthquake

  • Have a battery operated radio and tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Try to stay calm and help others around you.
  • Check for injuries and apply first aid. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Beware of damaged power lines, bridges and trees.
  • Heed all warnings and don’t go sightseeing. Instead, check and offer help to neighbours, friends and family.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Don’t make unnecessary telephone calls.
  • Turn off electricity, gas or water supplies and check whether they have been affected.
  • Do not light matches until after you have checked for gas or fuel leaks.
  • Wear rubber boots or rubber-soled shoes and rubber or leather gloves.
  • Check for cracks and damage to your building’s floors, walls and ceilings. Evacuate if the building is badly damaged.
  • Follow any instructions for treating water. Conserve food and water as supplies may be interrupted.

Bushfires

Visit the Queensland Rural Fire Service website at https://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/

This is a link page that links to the Queensland Rural Fire Service website.
https://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/

Heatwave

A heatwave is three or more days of maximum and minimum temperatures that are unusual for that location. Heatwaves will likely be more challenging for the elderly, pregnant women, young children and babies. Heatwaves are a risk for anyone who does not take precautions to keep cool, even if you are healthy. Heatwaves can also [...]

A heatwave is three or more days of maximum and minimum temperatures that are unusual for that location.

Heatwaves will likely be more challenging for the elderly, pregnant women, young children and babies.

Heatwaves are a risk for anyone who does not take precautions to keep cool, even if you are healthy.

Heatwaves can also cause normally reliable infrastructure such as power and transport to fail.

Severe and extreme heatwaves have taken more lives than any other natural hazard in Australia’s 200 year history. An example in Victoria; 173 people perished as a direct result of the bushfires, however 374 people lost their lives to an extreme heatwave before the bushfires.

Heat stress and heat exhaustion can be serious, even fatal. Know the signs:

  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Intense thirst
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps which get worse or don’t go away

Before a Heatwave

  • Check our website, the Burdekin Shire Council Disaster Coordination Centre Facebook page and the Bureau of Meteorology website for information:
  • Think about modifying your planned activities so that you are indoors or in airconditioning.
  • Install blinds, curtains or other devices which help to keep the heat out.
  • Check your fans and air-conditioners are working properly.
  • Plan ahead to make sure you have enough food, water and medicine.

During a Heatwave

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Stay out of the sun, especially between 11am – 3pm.
  • Close curtains and blinds to keep rooms cool.
  • Avoid physical exertion if possible.
  • Wear loose, cool clothing, and wear a hat, glasses and sunscreen if going outside.
  • Have cool baths or showers or splash yourself with cool water.

After a Heatwave

  • Check on friends, neighbours and vulnerable people who may be less able to look after themselves.

Useful Links

www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html

Tsunami

A tsunami is a long ocean wave (or series of waves) or surges, caused by a major disturbance to the sea floor such as an undersea earthquake, landslide or volcanic eruption. They are different to the storm tide surge which can occur with cyclones and from large waves which can accompany storms. The phenomenon is [...]

A tsunami is a long ocean wave (or series of waves) or surges, caused by a major disturbance to the sea floor such as an undersea earthquake, landslide or volcanic eruption. They are different to the storm tide surge which can occur with cyclones and from large waves which can accompany storms.

The phenomenon is usually associated with earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions in, or adjacent to oceans, and results in sudden movement of the water column.

In deep water, tsunamis can reach speeds of up to 950km/hr and may travel across the sea for hundreds of kilometres, hitting distant communities hours after they are generated. They slow down but grow in size as they come ashore. Rather than one huge wave, a tsunami may look like a rapidly rising or falling tide and occur as a series of waves with periods of time in between. Despite the presence of the Great Barrier Reef, the Burdekin region could still be affected by a tsunami. Although the reef may reduce the impact of a tsunami, the scale of impact depends on what caused the tsunami, how far away the event is and where it is in relation to our shire.

TSUNAMI WARNING SIGNS:

  • You may notice changes such as the water withdrawing or becoming shallow.
  • A shaking of the ground in coastal regions may reflect the occurrence of a large undersea earthquake nearby that may generate a tsunami.
  • A roaring sound may precede the arrival of a tsunami.
  • A tsunami may not be one large wave approaching the coast. It can occur as a series of seemingly quite low but very powerful waves. The force of the water may be so strong it can carry vehicles, boats, bridges and buildings with it.

The difference between storm surges and tsunamis

  • Storm surges and tsunamis are generated by quite different phenomena. While both can cause inundation and significant damage in coastal regions, they have quite different characteristics.
  • A storm surge is generated by weather systems forcing water onshore over a generally limited stretch of coastline. It will normally build up over a few hours, as the cyclone or similar weather system approaches the coast.
  • Normally wind-waves on top of the surge will contribute to its impact.
  • A Tsunami is generated by earthquakes, undersea landslides, volcanic eruptions, explosions or meteorites. These travel great distances, sometimes across entire oceans affecting vast lengths of coastal land.

During a Tsunami

  • Tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Follow local instructions and take immediate action, no matter how small the tsunami may be.
  • If you are at the beach, immediately move inland or to higher ground. Get out of the water and away from the coast.
  • If your boat is in deep water and offshore, maintain your position.
  • If your boat is berthed or in shallow water, secure your vessel and move inland or to higher ground.
  • If you are on the coast and cannot move inland, seek shelter in the upper levels of a stable building.
  • Stay where you are if your location is on high ground.

After a Tsunami

  • In an emergency dial 000 or 112 from a mobile.
  • Tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Stay at your high ground location until advised it is safe to leave. More waves are likely to follow the first and it may take time for this to happen.
  • Beware of damaged power lines, roads, bridges and fallen trees.
  • Heed all warnings and don’t go sightseeing. Instead, check and offer help to neighbours, friends and family.
  • Turn off electricity, gas or water supplies and check whether they have been affected.
  • Wear rubber boots or rubber-soled shoes and rubber or leather gloves.
  • Check for cracks and damage to your building’s floors, walls and ceilings. Evacuate if the building is badly damaged.
  • Treat all items exposed to water as contaminated.
  • Dispose of rubbish, wash mud, dirt and debris as soon as you can.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling anything that has been in contact with water.
  • Follow any instructions for treating water. Conserve food and water as supplies may be interrupted.

Landslide

A landslide is the movement of rock, debris or earth down a slope. Landslides result from the failure of the materials which make up the hill slope and are driven by the force of gravity. Landslides are known also as landslips, slumps or slope failure.  Landslides can be caused by earthquakes or volcanic activity, but [...]

A landslide is the movement of rock, debris or earth down a slope. Landslides result from the failure of the materials which make up the hill slope and are driven by the force of gravity.

Landslides are known also as landslips, slumps or slope failure.

 Landslides can be caused by earthquakes or volcanic activity, but in Queensland, they’re generally caused by heavy rain. The rain saturates the soil on a hillside—often where there has been human activity (e.g. construction where trees and plants have been removed), past the point where any remaining vegetation can support the soil’s weight against the force of gravity. The top saturated layer of soil then slips down the hill—taking whatever is on the land with it.

Be aware of the area you live in — is it close to a hillslope, cliff or steep rocky area? Is there a history of landslides? If you live in such an area and there has been a period of heavy rain, you may be at risk of a landslide. Make sure your household Emergency Plan includes this hazard.

You may notice changes in the yard or house such as:

  • Leaning trees, slumping earth, movement in fences or trees, cracks in paths.
  • Outside walls start to pull away from the building, new cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick or foundations, doors or windows stick for the first time.
  • You may hear a rumbling sound which increases as the landslip nears. A trickle of falling mud or debris may precede a larger slip.
  • Emergency services may have little or no warning of a landslide.

During a Landslide

  • Tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • If it is safe to do so, leave the area and go quickly to your agreed safer location.
  • Advise neighbours and emergency services of the slip threat.
  • If you cannot leave, move to a second storey if there is one. Otherwise curl into a tight ball and protect your head.
  • Follow any instructions from emergency services.

After a Landslide

  • Tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Stay away from the slip area – there may be danger of additional slips.
  • Watch for flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow.
  • Check for injured and trapped people near the slip and alert emergency services.
  • Look for and report broken utility lines, damaged roads to the appropriate organisations.

Health Information

Food Safety

If power has failed for more than a day, the food in your fridge may be unsafe to eat. Don’t open your fridge or freezer door unnecessarily. Refrigerated food will spoil sooner than frozen food, so eat any perishable foods in your fridge first – such as dairy products and meat. If your power is [...]

If power has failed for more than a day, the food in your fridge may be unsafe to eat.

Don’t open your fridge or freezer door unnecessarily.

Refrigerated food will spoil sooner than frozen food, so eat any perishable foods in your fridge first – such as dairy products and meat.

If your power is off for more than 36 hours and you haven’t kept your freezer stocked with ice, food will start to spoil and should be eaten immediately. What can’t be eaten should be thrown out.

Throw out any food that has started to spoil, especially if it smells bad, tastes strange or is slimy.

You can refreeze partially defrosted food, but be aware that the shelf-life and quality will be reduced.

Drinking Water

The supply of drinking water may be contaminated or stopped altogether. If you are concerned about the quality of drinking water, conserve all treated drinking water and use it for drinking only, not washing. Unnecessary water use (eg. washing clothes) should be left until the water supply has returned to normal. Any water you think [...]

The supply of drinking water may be contaminated or stopped altogether. If you are concerned about the quality of drinking water, conserve all treated drinking water and use it for drinking only, not washing. Unnecessary water use (eg. washing clothes) should be left until the water supply has returned to normal.

Any water you think might be contaminated (eg. dirty or cloudy) should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute before drinking. (Be careful of boiling water around children).

If you are unable to boil water, use concentrated household chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) bleach to disinfect water, by mixing six drops of sodium hypochlorite to one litre of water. Leave it for at least 30 minutes before drinking. The smell and taste associated with chlorinated water will disperse if it is left to stand overnight.

If the water is very dirty or muddy, strain it through a clean cloth before boiling or treating.

If your water supply is cut off completely, save the water in your hot water system for drinking, cooking and kitchen use, but take precautions against scalding.

Water for flushing toilets can be obtained from a swimming pool, rainfall, seawater or other untreated supply.

Once the main water supply is back in operation, flush out all taps for 5-10 minutesto clear pipes of sediment.

Mosquito Borne Disease

Mosquito breeding increases after rain or flooding, and it is important that residents help prevent outbreaks of mosquito-borne disease. Make sure you wear insect repellent if you are being bitten. When cleaning up your house and yard following a cyclone or flood, get rid of potential mosquito breeding sites to prevent outbreak of mosquito-born disease. [...]

Mosquito breeding increases after rain or flooding, and it is important that residents help prevent outbreaks of mosquito-borne disease.

Make sure you wear insect repellent if you are being bitten. When cleaning up your house and yard following a cyclone or flood, get rid of potential mosquito breeding sites to prevent outbreak of mosquito-born disease.

Rain or floodwater may have collected in containers around your yard, so make sure you empty them and store them in a dry place or throw them away.

Controlling Mosquitos After Wet Weather

Floods often lead to increased mosquito numbers which can lead to an increase in bites and the potential for an increase in mosquito-borne disease. Standing water from heavy rainfall and flooding provides perfect conditions for mosquito breeding.

You need to play your part and help reduce the number of potential breeding sites by taking the following actions in and around your home.

Actions to take:

When cleaning up your house and yard following a cyclone or flood, get rid of potential mosquito breeding sites to help prevent mosquito-borne disease.

Remove any stagnant pools of water around your house and yard. This may involve clearing debris from ditches, cutting small channels to help pooling water drain, or filling in holes and vehicle wheel ruts.

Clean up debris which the flood waters have deposited on your property. While a lot of this debris may be half buried, it often contains enough water to breed large numbers of mosquitoes. In addition to pooled water, rain or floodwater may have collected in containers around your yard, so make sure you tip them out and store them in a dry place, or throw them away.

Common mosquito breeding sites include:

  • pot plant bases (inside and outside)
  • tyres
  • tarpaulins
  • palm fronds
  • buckets
  • tin cans and plastic containers
  • boats
  • coconut shells
  • roof gutters (if blocked by leaf debris).

Rainwater tanks can also be a source of mosquitoes.

  • check the mosquito screens and flap valves on rainwater tanks, particularly in-ground tanks to ensure that the screens and flap valves are still in place.
  • Make repairs as necessary.

Avoid being bitten

  • wear insect repellent whenever mosquitoes are present
  • wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
  • use flying insect spray to kill any mosquitoes in rooms
  • use mosquito coils or plug-in insecticide mats in rooms
  • repair defective insect screens.

See a doctor immediately if you become unwell with fever, headache, skin rash, joint or muscle pain.

For more information

For further information, call:

  • Burdekin Shire Council 07 4783 9800
  • Tropical Population Health Unit Townsville 07 4753 9000

Cleaning Up

If your house has been flooded, wear gloves and covered shoes when cleaning up, and treat any cuts with antiseptic. Apply a bandaid to the wound and see a doctor if injuries are serious. After cleaning silt and debris from floors and other surfaces, disinfect the surfaces with household bleach or disinfectant. Refrigerators and food [...]

If your house has been flooded, wear gloves and covered shoes when cleaning up, and treat any cuts with antiseptic. Apply a bandaid to the wound and see a doctor if injuries are serious.

After cleaning silt and debris from floors and other surfaces, disinfect the surfaces with household bleach or disinfectant.

Refrigerators and food storage cupboards should be thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected.

Be sure to thoroughly clean, using hot water and detergent, any cooking and eating utensils that may have come into contact with floodwater. Throw out any flood-damaged food.

Avoid unnecessary contact with mud and dirt, especially when you are cleaning up.

Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling food, and after handling pets that may have swum in contaminated water.

When cleaning up, especially outside, reduce the risk of catching diseases by:

  • wearing boots and gloves
  • putting waterproof bandaids on cuts and grazes
  • washing your hands thoroughly before eating or smoking
  • showering thoroughly with soap at the end of each day.

When cleaning up, reduce your risk of injury:

  • don’t try and do it too quickly, and get assistance if the job is too big
  • look out for snakes and spiders
  • clean scratches with salty water and apply a waterproof covering if needed – if the
  • skin around cuts becomes red or sore, see your doctor
  • be careful when operating chainsaws and other vegetation-clearing equipment,
  • wear protective clothing and keep children and pets away
  • even in cloudy conditions, protect yourself from the sun and ensure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

For more information, call:

Burdekin Shire Council 07 4783 9800

Tropical Population Health Unit Townsville 07 4753 9000

General Information

Septic Tanks

If your property has a septic tank, heavy rain and flooding can affect its ability to treat wastewater from your home. When rainwater or floodwaters pond over the trench area, there is nowhere for the effluent to drain because the trenches and soil beneath are saturated causing the system to fail. When trenches are saturated, [...]

If your property has a septic tank, heavy rain and flooding can affect its ability to treat wastewater from your home. When rainwater or floodwaters pond over the trench area, there is nowhere for the effluent to drain because the trenches and soil beneath are saturated causing the system to fail.

When trenches are saturated, contaminants from the partially treated wastewater can enter ground and surface water. In addition, when the water can’t flow out of the septic tank into the trenches it can easily back up into bathrooms and laundries.

Before the flood

A well-maintained septic system is better able to cope with heavy rains or flooding, so it is strongly recommended that you have your tanks pumped out regularly (every 3-5 years) and maintain your trench areas by keeping the grass well mowed. In the event of an impending flood, seal the lid and inspection openings with silicone to keep excess water out of your septic tank.

During the flood

If possible, don’t use the septic system as the soil is saturated and the surrounding area is flooded. If the trench area becomes covered in water, stay well away and don’t allow children or pets to play in the water as it may be contaminated with raw sewage.

Under flood conditions do not have your septic pumped out as the surrounding saturated soil may cause it to ‘pop out’ of the ground.

After the flood

Have your tank inspected by a professional if you suspect that your septic has become damaged. Most septics are not damaged by flooding as they are below ground, however the outlet and trenches can become clogged with silt and require cleaning by a professional.

If needed, have the septic tank pumped out once the flood waters have receded and the trenches have started to dry out to help remove any silt and debris which may have washed into the system.

If sewage has backed up into the house, clean the area and disinfect the floor ensuring that you wear rubber gloves. Use a disinfectant such as chlorine bleach or similar to disinfect the area thoroughly.

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