Prepare your home

You should prepare your family, home and property ahead of disasters. Being prepared may minimise any damage that could occur during a disaster.

Some things you can do around your home to prepare for a disaster include:

  • trim trees and branches and mow your grass regularly
  • remove all rubbish, leaf litter, firewood and fuel containers near the house
  • check and maintain your roof and clear gutters and downpipes
  • make sure your home is adequately and appropriately insured
  • identify where and how to turn off the mains supply (e.g. water, electricity and gas)
  • keep a well-stocked emergency kit with essential items
  • identify loose objects in your yard or on your deck or balcony that may need to be secured or put away
  • prepare, update and practise your emergency plan
  • keep emergency contact numbers handy
  • get to know your neighbours as they may be able to help you during an emergency.

Emergency kit

During an emergency, you may lose your power and water supply. Make sure your family is prepared and able to cope with any disruptions by having a well-stocked emergency kit.

Your emergency kit should be kept in a safe and easily accessible place. Your emergency kit should include these essential items:

  • battery-operated radio (with spare batteries)
  • torch (with spare batteries)
  • first aid kit (with manual)
  • essential medications with prescription details
  • toiletry and sanitary supplies
  • water in sealed containers – 10 litres per person (3 days’ supply)
  • canned or dried food with can opener and utensils (3 days’ supply)
  • copies of important documents (e.g.insurance papers, drivers licence, passport)
  • some spare money in case ATMs don’t work
  • household emergency plan with contact numbers of emergency services, family and friends
  • any special-need items for elderly or infant family members
  • pet food, water and other animal needs
  • mobile phone and charger
  • spare clothes and bedding if you need to evacuate.

You need to regularly check your emergency kit to make sure items have not expired.

Emergency plan

Having an emergency plan for your household helps everyone know what to do if there’s an emergency. Include all your household members when you prepare your emergency plan. Regularly practise your plan so that everyone knows how to respond if there’s a disaster.

Your plan should include important reminders and information, including:

  • household contact details
  • emergency contact numbers and other important phone numbers
  • contact numbers for family and friends
  • evacuation routes from your home which avoid potential hazards such as flash flooding across roads
  • how to turn off utilities such as electricity and water
  • meeting places in case you get separated or need to evacuate
  • personal medical information for household members
  • details about insurance and utility providers (such as gas, phone, electricity, water and sewerage)
  • contact information for schools, childcare centres, nursing homes and any other organisations
  • what you will do with your pets and animals during a disaster (remember that some evacuation centres may be unable to accommodate them).