Preparing for an Emergency

Key Steps

  • Develop a Personal Emergency Plan to be better prepared in an extreme emergency such as a house fire or flood.
  • Involve all the family and household members.
  • Know what sort of emergency you might face in your home or neighbourhood.
  • Find out if your home is in an area that’s at risk of natural disasters such as severe storms, flash flooding or bushfire. Find out what you can do to prepare for these events and what to do if you are affected by one of these emergencies.
  • Create a home evacuation plan. Draw a floor plan of your home, marking up the main escape route, and back-up escape routes. It should include routes out of your neighbourhood, the location of equipment and medications you need, and a meeting place outside your home.
  • Give a copy of your evacuation plan to your family and household members and keep a copy on your fridge. Practice your evacuation plan with all household members.
  • Create a contact list, including details of all family members/carers and local emergency telephone numbers. Good ones to include are the SES, local council, gas, electricity and water. Keep them near your phone. 
  • Decide how family members will stay in touch in the event of, or after, an emergency. Agree on how you will contact each other if not at home, who will collect children from school, who will check on elderly or disabled neighbours.
  • Identify meeting places for everyone in your household – one close to your home and one further away in case you are unable to return to your neighbourhood. Organise an out-of-town person that your family can contact in case you are separated and make a list of that person’s contact details and provide them to your workplace or your children’s school. Inform schools and childcare authorities of people who are permitted to pick up your children if you are unable to do so.
  • Locate where and how to turn off water, gas and electricity supplies in your home.
  • Learn some basic first aid. it pays to have first aid skills because you can't learn it in an emergency.
  • Store important documents safely (e.g. wills, passports, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies) in case of a fire in a waterproof container or safe deposit box.