During a natural disaster
During a natural disaster, safety should always be the first priority.
There are 3 steps you can take to protect yourself during a natural disaster.
1. Enact your plan
This includes your natural disaster plan, communication plan and – if necessary – an evacuation plan.
Have your natural disaster supply kit handy and eliminate any potential hazards around your home and property.
If you are advised by emergency authorities to evacuate, do so immediately, take your supply kit, lock your house and follow evacuation instructions. Tell someone when you leave and where you are going, make sure to check for updates on the situation regularly.
Do not return until emergency services declare it safe to do so.
2. Stay informed
Knowing what to do in the event of a natural disaster can help to keep you and your family safe and save precious time.
The following organisations provide vital information during a disaster:
- The media, particularly ABC Local Radio, plays an important role during a disaster. Stay aware of the news and tune in to local radio and TV channels for warnings, evacuation orders, weather updates and safety announcements
- The Bureau of Meteorology issues warnings for extreme weather conditions. Visit the website for forecasts, the latest watches and warnings in your area.
- Local authorities and emergency services are the first responders and can provide crucial information. They will be able to tell you where there are shelters, the extent of the damage and, if you have evacuated, when it is safe to return home
- Emergency services provide warnings and updates about natural disasters via websites and social media accounts
- Emergency Alert is the national telephone warning system used by emergency services to send voice messages to landlines and text messages to mobile phones, in a specific area, about likely or actual emergencies. In the case of an emergency, you may receive a voice message on your landline or a text message on your mobile phone. More information is available on the Emergency Alert website
- The local fire service or State Emergency Service can provide details on what to do
3. Stay safe
If you are staying at home, ensure your house is safe, which might mean turning off your electricity, gas and water. Secure outdoor furniture and disconnect electrical appliances if necessary.
During a natural disaster services you rely on, including electricity, water, internet and phone services may be turned off or disrupted.
Be careful with food and water. If the power goes out, food in the fridge will spoil. Use common sense and do not eat anything that may have gone off. Water supplies could be temporarily cut or be contaminated.
Remember, it could be several days before services are restored and local stores reopen. Even then, they may be limited.
It’s not just your home you need to be mindful of when there’s a natural disaster. The environment inside or outside your home may also change. It’s possible roads will be damaged or closed and public transport may not be available.
If significant damage occurs it’s also likely buildings, roads, bridges and other structures may be damaged and unsafe.
Electricity, gas, water and telephones may be off for days or weeks. Damaged infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and rail lines, will take longer to restore.