Preparing for an Emergency

Every household should have an emergency plan and emergency kit.

To develop an emergency plan:

  • Make sure you have adequate house and contents insurance, and know which hazards are covered
  • Find out how and where to turn off power, gas and water supplies
  • Store important documents, e.g. wills, photos, birth certificates
  • Agree on essential tasks with the members of the household, e.g. collecting children from school, checking on elderly neighbours
  • Arrange for an out-of-town friend or relative to be a single point of contact in case people are separated before or during a widespread emergency.

Your emergency kit should contain:

  • Portable, battery-operated radio (to hear news reports)
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Fresh water in sealed containers (at least 10 litres per person for three days)
  • Canned food (with can opener and utensils) for three days
  • Any special need items for elderly or infant family members
  • First aid kit (with manual)
  • Combination pocket knife
  • Medications, toiletry supplies
  • Insurance documents, etc.
  • List of emergency numbers, including insurance details (pet owners should have the number of their vet)
  • Pet food and other animal needs
  • Portable stove with fuel
  • Money, including change for phone calls
  • Tent or tarpaulin
  • Woollen and thermal blankets
  • Strong plastic bags (for clothing, valuables, documents and photographs)

In the event of a disaster or major emergency:

  • Listen for the Standard Emergency Warning System (SEWS). This is a wailing siren that may be broadcast on radio or television anywhere in Australia to draw attention to the fact that an urgent message is about to be made. You should stop and listen, then act immediately on the official advice given. Keep listening for further messages.
  • Don't move injured people unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Once you have checked your own family and property, don't go sightseeing.
  • Do not make unnecessary phone calls (to prevent network jam).

For information on matters such as public health, welfare or building safety contact Council.

Visit the Australian Red Cross website for further information and resources relating to disaster or emergency preparation, reponse and recovery.