The best time to prepare for a disaster is well before one is even on its way. Planning well means nothing is left to chance and that everyone knows what they need to do.
Hold a family meeting and keep it simple. Emphasise working together as a team during these times.
Include information such as:
- What would happen if you live in a flood prone area and your home is at risk from storm tide or fire is a constant threat – what would you do?
- What would you do if were separated from family or friends in a disaster (you’re at work or school etc.)? How will you stay in touch and where will you meet up?
- What would happen if you need to evacuate your household? Where would you go?
- What would you do if you needed to contact someone for assistance? What emergency contact phone numbers should be listed (don’t rely on your mobile phone – the battery might be flat)?
- What would you do if a disaster happened tomorrow? What is everyone’s role in preparing?
Prepare a Household Emergency Plan using the following guidelines
- Meet with your family and explain the need for a Family Disaster Plan. Explain to all members, including children, the likely threats and the dangers of each.
- Explain to each family member what he or she should do during a disaster event.
- As a family locate a safe place in your house to shelter for each type of hazard.
- Designate a friend or relatives house as an alternative shelter if a member of your family is unable to make it home when a hazard threatens or you are not allowed to return to your house due to an evacuation of your area. This should also be the place you self evacuate to in the event your area has to be evacuated. All family members should know the name of the occupants, their address and telephone number. If you have pets ensure that you can bring your pets as well.
- Develop an emergency communications plan. In the event that family members become separated, as can happen with the swift onset of an event such as flooding during the day when parents are to work and children at school, have a plan for getting back together.
- Arrange for an out of town relative or friend to be your family contact point. This is the person, living well away from you, who you will contact to provide information on how you have fared during the disaster and the condition of the family. This person will then inform all other relatives and friends of your situation. They also become the focal point for inquiries as to your welfare from others.
- Make sure every family member has a clear idea of what will be required if an evacuation notice is issued. What they must do and what the family must do to make their way to safety.
- Produce check-lists of action to take in preparation for specific disaster events.
- Place emergency telephone numbers clearly near the phone. Teach children to ring 000 in an emergency.
- Create an Emergency Kit.
- Document your Family Disaster Plan and practice it with the whole family.
Making a plan is easy! Use the Get Ready Queensland template shown below:
- Get Ready 1-Prepare your Emergency Plan - (pdf 348.23 kB)
Practice and maintain your plan
Ensure the family has a good understanding of the Household Emergency Plan and practice the plan on a regular basis.
Go over the family plan and do escape drills. Quiz the children and remember to replace stored food and water on a regular basis. It is also a good idea to replace the batteries in smoke alarms, torches, radio’s and other electronic equipment that may be necessary during a disaster at least every 12 months.
It is also important to meet with your neighbours to plan how you can work together during a disaster.
Talk about who has special skills (medical, technical, building) and also make arrangements for children if parents can’t get home.
Prepare Your House, Boat and Car
- Clean up the yard.
- Trim trees and over hanging branches.
- 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.
- Get to know your neighbours.
- 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.
- Store poisons up high.
Getting your home prepared is easy! Use the Get Ready Queensland template shown below:
- Get Ready 4-Prepare your Home - (pdf 253.16 kB)
- Ensure your car insurance is current and that it covers your asset adequately.
- When severe weather warnings are issued, park vehicles under cover, away from trees, power lines and waterways.
- Ensure your car is fully fuelled.
Getting your car prepared is easy! Use the Get Ready Queensland template shown below:
- Get Ready 8-Prepare your Car - (pdf 269.89 kB)
Maritime Safety Queensland recommends that mariners plan, prepare and follow advice when it comes to severe weather season.
- Get a copy of the Extreme Weather Event Contingency Plan for your area and read it.
- Explore your suggested shelter area or inlet before cyclone season starts.
- Update your contact details with the authorities.
- Organise options to move your boat if you will be away during severe weather season.
- Keep a record of emergency telephone numbers handy – for example:
- Port of Townsville – (07) 4781 1600
- Regional Harbour Master – (07) 4421 8100
- Townsville Water Police – (07) 4759 9790
- Volunteer Marine Rescue Burdekin – (07) 4783 1014
- Volunteer Marine Rescue Bowen – (07) 4786 1950
- Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday – (07) 4946 7207
- Queensland Police Service – Emergencies: 000 Policelink: 131 444
- Know when and where your vessel needs to be during an evacuation.
- Use suitable lines to secure your boat. Double up on mooring lines. Check they are in good condition and are the right size and length.
- Secure loose articles below deck.
- Secure all hatches.
- Check your boat is watertight.
- Reduce wind loading and remove furled sails and covers, bimini tops and any clears.
- Check all bilge pumps work and that all self draining holes are clear.
You can view the Extreme Weather Event Contingency Plan for Townsville – 2016/2017 using the link below:
- Extreme Weather Event Contingency Plan for Townsville – 2016/2017 - (pdf 127.55 kB)
During disasters, emergency services may not be able to reach you because of high winds, fire, floodwater, fallen powerlines or debris across the road. Emergency Services will be focused on assisting the most vulnerable in the community during an event.
That’s why you need to be prepared to evacuate or ‘camp indoors’ for at least three days.
Prepare the following items and keep them in a sturdy, easily transported bag or box.
- Battery operated radio (with spare batteries)
- Torch (with spare batteries)
- Candles, lighter and water proof matches
- First aid kit and manual
- Combination pocket knife
- Portable (gas) stove with fuel
- Cooking gear
- Water in sealed containers (10L per person)
- Medications additional supplies
- Toiletry and sanitary supplies
- Change of clothes and strong shoes
- Nonperishable food (cans) – enough for 3 to 4 days (can opener and utensils)
- Special needs items for infants, the aged and people with disabilities
- Pet food, water and other animal needs
- Tent or tarpaulin, and blankets
- Other camping equipment
- Cash (ATMs may not be available)
- Personal documents (insurance certificates, photographs etc)
- Strong plastic bags (for clothing and valuables etc)
- Emergency phone numbers
Preparing your Emergency Kit is easy! Use the Get Ready Queensland template shown below:
- Get Ready 3-Prepare your Emergency Kit - (pdf 950.95 kB)
Visit the Get Ready Queensland website for your emergency and evacuation kit checklists.
As well as those essential items in your Emergency Kit, if you are evacuating you will need to take additional items with you so you are equipped to live away from home for several days.
- Your Household Emergency Kit
- Several changes of warm clothes
- Sturdy shoes
- Entertainment, books and toys for children
- Valuables and mementos
- Blankets / sleeping bags
Preparing your Evacuation Kit is easy! Use the Get Ready Queensland template shown below:
- Get Ready 2-Prepare for Evacuation - (pdf 589.55 kB)
Visit the Get Ready Queensland website for your emergency and evacuation kit checklists.
What you need to know to prepare your pets for a disaster
- Check with animal refuges, animal boarding facilities and vets on whether they can provide accommodation for your pets in the event of an evacuation.
- Contact hotels and motels outside of the threat area and check on their policies for accepting pets and any restrictions on size, species etc. Ask if pet policies can or will be waived during disaster events.
- Make arrangements to board your pets at an animal boarding facility for the duration of the event.
- Check with vets, RSPCA, animal welfare groups and Council to identify if any Emergency Pet Shelters are to be established during disaster events. Add the contact details to your emergency contact list.
- Ask friends or relatives outside of the affected area to house and care for your pets. Preferably this should be the place that you have self evacuated your family to.
- Buy a pet carrier that allows your pet to stand up and move around. Make sure your pet is comfortable with the carrier by training them to enter and spend time in it.
If you don’t have a pet carrier
- If you do not have a pet carrier small to medium animals can be carried in their cages, pillowcases or in secure boxes with air holes.
- Check with your local pet store for a small tank to transport your fish in with attached battery operated aerator. A battery operated aerator, and bucket, of the type used by fisherman to keep live bait alive will also be adequate. If you have no other option put your fish into a large wide necked jar, two-thirds filled, with a secure lid and aerate by gently blowing through a straw. Remove the lid when stationary to allow for some air saturation.
- Frogs need a small covered container with 2.5cm of water in the bottom and air holes in the top.
- Snakes and lizards need to be put in a container with a secure lid and air holes, or a sack/pillowcase.
Before an event
- If your pet is on medication ensure you have an adequate supply to cover a disaster event.
- Have your pet wear an identification tag listing your name, address and telephone number.
- If your pet normally wears a choker collar have a separate leather or nylon collar available for wear during disaster events. This is to ensure no injury is caused to your pet during stressful conditions.
- Keep your pet’s immunisation shots up to date and have all records available to take with you if you have to evacuate. Boarding facilities, Emergency Animal Shelters, etc will not take pets without records of immunisations. In your family emergency kit have extra supplies of dry pet food, kitty litter, food and water feeders/containers and extra mediation.
- Consider a muzzle for your dog, as the stress of disaster events will affect animals as well leading to normally placid animals becoming aggressive.
- Have recent photos of pets available to help with identification in the event you become separated from them.
Leaving your pets behind
If you have to leave pets behind when you evacuate consider the following:
- Place each pet in a separate room. Even pets that normally get on well together may become aggressive towards each other under the stress. Do not tie them up.
- Leave their normal bedding with them as well as any favourite toys to help control any anxiety being felt by your pets.
- Small rooms, without windows, which are easy to clean such as toilets and bathrooms, are most appropriate.
- If there is a threat of flooding or storm surge leave chairs, tables, benches etc which will allow your pet to gain height.
- Leave two or three days of dry food in a large heavy container that is difficult to knock over.
- Leave water in a sturdy container that is difficult to knock over. A tap left slowly dripping can replenish water supplies in a container and large dogs may be able to drink from a partially filled bathtub.
- Birds must eat daily to survive. Check with your vet on suitable food dispensers that regulate supply.
- Leave a notice on the outside and inside of your door advising emergency services personnel of which animals they are likely to encounter and in which rooms. Also leave the details of where you can be contacted.
After an event
- After the event, if you cannot return to your home, contact Council to find out if arrangements have been made to reunite pets with owners.
- If you have to leave the area after a disaster event take your pets with you, as they cannot survive without you.
- Keep them leashed and in close contact with you for a period after the event until they settle into their new surroundings and routine.
- The behaviour of pets can change remarkably after a disaster event. Be alert to changes and seek advice from the vet as necessary.
Visit the Get Ready Queensland website for your pet emergency plan checklist.
Preparing your pets
Making a plan for your pets is easy! Use the Get Ready Queensland template shown below:
- Get Ready 7-Pet Emergency Plan - (pdf 320.17 kB)
For more information about your specific pet please refer to the following information:
Preparedness for Seniors and the Disabled
Red Cross RediPlan
If you are elderly or have a disability and you haven’t prepared and made a plan, an emergency could disrupt your life in ways you don’t expect. Get prepared and you’ll be more confident, more in control and more likely to cope when disaster strikes.
RediPlan is a free disaster preparedness guide that will get you prepared for any emergency in four simple steps. RediPlan helps you:
- learn about the risks you face and how they might affect you
- make an emergency survival kit to help you through a disaster
- take action now to protect the important things in life
- create your personal emergency plan to help you when disaster strikes
Making a plan is easy! Use the Red Cross RediPlan guide shown below:
- Red Cross RediPlan Disaster Preparedness Guide - (pdf 1.66 MB)
Check out these resources
Disaster safety for people with disabilities – Mobility, hearing, learning, or seeing disabilities can create specific needs that individuals need to address to be able to respond to an emergency.
The Diabetes Emergency Plan, available for download here, contains important information that will help you keep managing your diabetes during a natural disaster or emergency.
Prepare Your Business
Getting your business ready for a natural disaster includes such tasks as developing an emergency plan for your business, organising proper insurance and training your staff in first aid and evacuation procedures.
Business Continuity Planning involves developing a practical plan for how your business can prepare for, and continue to operate after an incident or crisis.
The framework for constructing your BCP is the same as the one that is used for all disaster management: the PPRR model. Learn more about prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, and how this relates to your continuity plan.
These links will help you prepare for and recover from disasters:
Telstra & NBN
NBN – Important Information
NBN advises that equipment connected over the NBN access network will not work during a power blackout.
Be prepared for a power blackout
Please be aware that unlike the old network, a fibre broadband network requires power at both ends of the network. Therefore, your phone and internet services will no longer work over the NBN access network during an outage.
Unexpected outages to your NBN access network connection can occur for many reasons outside of NBN’s control, such as storms, bushfires, car accidents or tree branches falling on to power lines. The equipment you have connected will not work in a power blackout. This includes all types of landline phones (cordless phones as well as the older style unpowered corded phones), Wi-Fi routers and modems.
Preparation is the key
Consider having an alternate form of communication handy (such as a charged mobile phone)
If you have safety-critical equipment, (e.g. a medical alarm, monitored fire alarm or lift emergency phone), speak to your equipment provider about other solutions.
For more information: nbn.com.au/power
Telstra – Important Information:
Telstra encourages northern Queensland residents to be prepared so that can stay connected.
It’s important to think ahead. Staying connected in an emergency situation could be paramount to the safety of you and your loved ones.
Here are a few of Telstra’s tips on what you can do now that will make it easier to stay connected during a disaster. Try not to rely on any one of these things – make sure you have several options covered to stay connected.
Alternative phone charger
If you haven’t already, purchase a phone charger that isn’t dependent on a power outlet. Solar power chargers, in-car chargers and power bank chargers are all reliable options. Make sure you charge your power bank.
Back up data
Back up important data, like contact information and photos, to your cloud.
Know your numbers
Compile a list of essential contact numbers to store in your phone and keep them close at hand, including local Police, Fire, SES, family, friends and Telstra’s fixed line fault line – 13 22 03.
Satellite phones are usually immune to damaged infrastructure and can operate in remote locations. If communications are critical you could consider a satellite phone.
Fixed line phones
Have a spare battery
Remember, most modern cordless phones rely on electric power to operate, so you may lose the use of your landline during a power outage. Consider a phone with a battery backup function and keep spare batteries nearby.
For NBN customers
It’s important to remember if your home phone now works through the modem and there’s a power outage, your phone line will also be down.
It is best to have a mobile phone handy, or a satellite phone for those in remote areas.
nbn reminds residents and businesses in North Queensland that equipment connected over the nbn™ network will not work during a power blackout.
Even with network power resiliency and in-premises battery backup, power outages may last longer than the battery life. Therefore, nbn™ recommend you are always prepared to be without internet and telephone services for some time.
nbn recommends that you put together an emergency kit, which includes equipment that can be used in the event that there is a power outage, or your connection to the nbn™ network is disrupted (for example a charged mobile phone).
Keep a spare plug-in phone handy
Your cordless phone is great, but using a plug-in phone connects you to the telephone exchange.
Virtual meeting place
Set up an instant messaging group with family and friends. Agree in advance to update each other here during an emergency.
Download emergency service apps. They will give up to date warnings and incident information issued by official agencies across Australia.
Local information sources
Identify key local agency social media accounts and websites for real time information on what’s happening in your area.
Subscribe to text and emails that will alert you to weather changes, road closures and local emergency services updates.
Know your emergency broadcaster
Have a battery powered radio with spare batteries to listen to the news
The Telstra Network
Telstra is also taking steps to protect network infrastructure where possible, and working closely with communities to ensure they remain connected.
“We have a range of portable base stations that could be deployed to provide temporary telecommunications during an emergency situation and our teams will be on the ground working hard to maintain services for our customers and restore communications in the event of an emergency.”
During an emergency, customers can monitor the Telstra Service Status site to help keep up to date on any network impacts and restoration activities.
Places of Refuge – a Last Resort
In most cases you should shelter in place
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.
Your first and best option if you need to leave your home is to shelter with family or friends, where you will be much more comfortable and can shelter with your pets.
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.
The Multi-Purpose Hall 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 into 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 your family to last for 24 hours.
To ensure the structural integrity of the building and the safety of the occupants, there will be no ability to enter or leave the Place of Refuge once it is ‘locked down’.
Place of Refuge Conditions of Entry and Code of Conduct
- Place of Refuge Code of Conduct - (pdf 203.22 kB)
- Place of Refuge Conditions of Entry - (pdf 222.3 kB)
Storm Surge Maps
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map All Burdekin Areas - (pdf 2.55 MB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Airdmillan - (pdf 1.02 MB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Airville - (pdf 692.8 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Alva Township - (pdf 586.48 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Alva - (pdf 942.12 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Ayr - (pdf 1.07 MB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Barratta - (pdf 1011.18 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Brandon - (pdf 1.23 MB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Carstairs - (pdf 828.19 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Colevale - (pdf 683.22 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Cromarty - (pdf 649.39 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Giru Township - (pdf 557.57 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Giru - (pdf 715.69 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Groper Creek Township - (pdf 541.88 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Groper Creek - (pdf 686.29 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Home Hill - (pdf 720.36 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Horseshoe Lagoon - (pdf 783.89 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Inkerman - (pdf 1.13 MB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Jarvisfield - (pdf 1010.74 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Jerona Township - (pdf 536.45 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Jerona - (pdf 582.42 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - McDesme - (pdf 670.79 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Mount Surround - (pdf 623.63 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Rita Island - (pdf 727.21 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Shirbourne - (pdf 622.34 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Wangaratta - (pdf 675.53 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Wunjunga Township - (pdf 544.38 kB)
- Storm Tide Evacuation Zones Map - Wunjunga - (pdf 784.26 kB)
Evacuation advice is based on the level of potential inundation from storm tide. This falls into three zones – red, orange and yellow. Do not wait – 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.
- Wear strong shoes (not thongs) and tough clothing for protection.
- Lock doors; turn off power, gas, and water; take your Evacuation and Emergency Kits.
- If evacuating, take pets and leave early to avoid heavy traffic, flooding and wind hazards.
- Follow Police and State 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.
Register where you are going
Whether you are evacuating to family, friends, a place of refuge or another location, register where you are going on the Register. Find. Reunite. website so that family can find you and know you’re safe.
You can register on Register. Find. Reunite. using the following link:
This service is only activated during emergencies.