In most cases, the safest thing to do in a cyclone is to shelter in place, that is to stay at home and ride it out with your household.
You can evacuate the area at risk with your pets well ahead of time and stay outside threatened areas with family, friends or at a hotel/motel. If you live in a storm tide inundation area you may be advised to evacuate. Evacuation is based on storm tide and level of possible inundation (red, orange, yellow), not wind. You should also consider evacuating if you live in a pre-1982 home or feel concerned for your safety.
If you need to or decide to evacuate the best option is always go to family, friends or colleagues outside threatened areas. Plan this now and include the information in your Emergency Plan.
Places of Refuge are a last resort, and the Local Disaster Management Group open them only when absolutely necessary. Only vulnerable residents (such as the elderly without family in the region, the disabled, or those in storm tide areas that cannot evacuate to family and friends) should consider the Place of Refuge as a last resort.
Places of refuge - a last resort
Your first and best option is to shelter with family or friends, where you will be much more comfortable and can shelter with your pets during a natural disaster.
In the Burdekin Shire, the Multi-Purpose Centre situated at the Ayr Showgrounds will be used as a Place of Refuge and will only be opened as needed at the direction of the Burdekin Local Disaster Management Group.
Places of Refuge offer seating areas only – you will not be able to lie on a mattress or stretcher. You will not be able to bring pets in to the centre. If you decide to enter the ‘refuge’ you will need to be registered and be self sufficient with your own food, water, medical supplies and toiletries.
These items are essential and you should bring enough for you and each of your family members to last 24 hours. To ensure the structural integrity of the building and the safety of the occupants, during this time there will be no ability to enter or leave the place of refuge once it is “locked down”.
Evacuation advice is based on the level of potential inumdation from storm tide. This falls into three zones - red, orange and yellow. Do not wait - For your own personal safety and that of your family go when advised.
There are three evacuation zones which are determined based on modelling and previous experiences of inundation above the "average height datum" AHD. For these purposes you can consider AHD to be sea level.
Storm surge maps are available on this website or you can visit the Burdekin Shire Council Customer Service Centre. These maps will help you determine your risk.
When evacuating, follow these steps:
- Wear strong shoes (not thongs) and tough clothing for protection.
- Lock doors, turn off power, gas and water.
- Take your Emergency Kit and Evacuation Kit with you.
- Take pets and leave early to avoid heavy traffic, flooding and any wind hazards.
- Follow Police and Emergency Services directions.
- If going to a Place of Refuge, take your own food, water and essential items.
- leave pets at home or in a safe location where they are protected and with food and water.
Whether you are evacuating to family, friends, a place of refuge or another location, register where you are going so that family can find you and know your safe.
The Red Cross activates Register. Find. Reunite only during emergencies. https://register.redcross.org.au/