Get Ready Queensland
Take the time now to prepare an Emergency Plan.
It is an important step to prepare for what can happen and to stay safe.
Develop your Emergency Plan with the entire household and talk about:
- Whether you live in a flood prone area or, your home is at risk from storm tide - what would you do?
- If you're separated when a disaster happens (at work or school etc), how will you stay in touch and where will you meet up.
- Where would you go if you need to evacuate your household.
- Compiling a list of emergency contact phone numbers.
- If anyone in your family, household or neighbourhood has
specific medical conditions or special needs and will need assistance:
- include specific items in your Emergency Kit to assist people with communication or mobility difficulty
- arrange to notify anyone with a hearing impairment of emergency warnings and other key information
- arrange to assist anyone with a sight impairment or mobility difficulty if evacuation is required.
- Whether you need to make plans for your pets?
More Emergency Plan information: http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq/css/householdplan.asp
For many emergencies, you may be able to shelter in place, either at home or at work. In this situation you will need to rely on items you've included in your Emergency Kit.
Include items you'd need for at least three days in case of disruption to essential services such as power and water supplies. Also, include the equipment you'll need to prepare meals with no power.
Keep your kit in a waterproof storage container and store in an easy to access location. Check your kit every three months to stock up and rotate supplies to ensure provisions are fresh and safe to use.
To print this checklist, download the the print-ready version (PDF / 598 KB)
Other emergency supplies to have ready at home
If you live in a low-lying coastal area or an area prone to flooding, preparing an Evacuation Kit now can save you time and stress in the event of cyclone, storm tide, flood or tsunami.
To print this checklist, download the the print-ready version (PDF / 598 KB)
When you evacuate, ensure that you take your Emergency Kit, Evacuation Kit, and Emergency Plan with you.
More Emergency Kit information: http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq/css/emergencykit.asp
General home maintenance:
- keep your roof in good condition and check it regularly
- keep gutters and downpipes clear so water can drain away quickly
- trim trees and overhanging branches close to the house (be aware of any overhead powerlines)
- check and fix any corrosion, rotten timber, termite infestations and loose fittings.
General home preparations:
- ensure your home, contents and car insurance is current and adequate. Check your policy includes debris clean up and removal
- identify your strongest room to shelter in place during severe storm or cyclone
- identify where and how to turn off the main supply for water, power and gas
- have items on hand such as water storage containers, spare fuel for your vehicle (ensure you store it safely), camp stove and fuel for cooking without power etc.
If you live in a flood-prone area:
- store all poisons and garden chemicals well above ground level
- identify indoor items you will need to raise or empty if flood threatens
- consider alternatives to carpet and relocate power-points to well above previous flood levels (using a licensed contractor).
If you live in a cyclone / severe storm-prone area:
- arrange for a professional builder to check your building and identify ways you can increase the structural security of your home to withstand high winds
- fit windows with shutters or metal screens for added protection during high winds.
Final home preparations:
- For when warnings are issued for a cyclone or severe storm
- disconnect electrical appliances and external television / radio aerials and turn off electricity and gas main supplies if instructed to do so
- secure outdoor furniture and garden items
- fill buckets and bath with clean water in case of interruptions to water supply
- close windows with shutters or tape windows with strong tape and draw curtains.
- For when warnings are issued for flood:
- disconnect electrical appliances
- move outdoor equipment, garbage, chemicals and poisons to a higher location
- empty and raise freezers / refrigerators and stack or move furniture, valuables and electrical items off-site
- sandbag internal drains and toilets to prevent sewage backflow
- move livestock, plant and feed to higher ground.
More prepare your home information: http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq/css/preparehome.asp
When warnings are issued you may be directed to:
- finalise preparations and secure items around your home
- activate your Emergency Plan and shelter in place, or
- evacuate to your predetermined safer location.
Ensure everyone knows how to Tune In, Log On, Listen Out and Act:
- To your local radio and TV station to listen for warnings and weather updates and local community safety announcements.
- To the Bureau of Meteorology for weather warnings.
- To the Queensland Disaster Management home page - on this site - for information on disaster events.
- To your council website for:
- local information on the emergency
- information on evacuation centres and evacuation routes
- information on assistance after a disaster event.
- For the Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) - the siren sound used at the beginning of serious warnings on radio and television. Pay careful attention to the message that follows SEWS and act immediately on the advice given.
- For Emergency Alert voice messages to your landline and text messages to your mobile telephone.
- For sirens and loud-hailer announcements that Emergency Services may use.
- For Emergency Services personnel who may door-knock your local area to pass on warnings.
- Act quickly on the advice provided.
- Ensure all householders are aware of the warning and advice provided.
- Check on neighbours and friends who may need special assistance.
- Activate your Emergency Plan and locate your Emergency Kit.
- Activate your evacuation arrangements if required.
For more information on Bureau of Meteorology warnings phone:
QLD Tropical Cyclone Warnings:
1300 659 212
QLD Land Weather and Flood Warnings:
1300 659 219
QLD Coastal Marine Warnings:
1300 360 427
Australian Tsunami Threat Information:
(1300 TSUNAMI ) 1300 878 6264
QLD General Warnings (call costs apply)
1900 969 922
More tune in to warnings information: http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq/css/tunein.asp
This is an interactive PDF you can use to:
- fill in the details for your Household Emergency Plan
- save the file to your computer
- print copies to:
- put on your fridge
- put in your Emergency Kit and Evacuation Kit
- give to your family and friends
- email to family and friends.
Our Household Emergency Plan (PDF / 129 KB)
To save the information you enter in your Household Emergency Plan, ensure you have the free Adobe Reader version 8, or later. Upgrade here.
Tropical cyclones are intense low-pressure systems that form over warm tropical waters. Winds in a cyclone travel in a clockwise direction around the centre and can reach speeds over 200 km/h. The severe winds can extend for hundreds of kilometres from the calm 'eye' or centre of the cyclone.
Cyclones are dangerous because they produce destructive winds, heavy rainfall, and damaging storm surges. The destructive winds can cause extensive damage to property and vegetation and can turn debris into dangerous missiles. The heavy rainfall associated with cyclones can produce extensive flooding and landslides which can cause property damage, increase the risk of drowning and cut road access.
Extreme waves generated by cyclones can cause severe coastal erosion and are dangerous to vessels out at sea and those moored in harbours.
The most destructive and dangerous hazard associated with tropical cyclones is the local rise in sea-level known as 'storm surge' which can cause inundation and flooding of low-lying coastal areas.
Storm surge and storm tide
Storm surge is generated by the low atmospheric pressure and gale force onshore winds experienced during a tropical cyclone. As a cyclone approaches the coast, this mound of seawater is pushed onto shore and can appear as a rapid rise in sea level, up to several metres high, at least 50 km wide and can last up to several hours.
The combination of storm surge and normal ocean tide is known as a 'storm tide'. The worst impacts can occur when a storm surge arrives on top of a high tide. When this happens, the storm tide can reach areas that might otherwise have been safe. If you live in a low-lying tropical or sub-tropical coastal area, you could be at risk from storm tide inundation.
Will you need to plan for evacuation?
Find out from your council if your home is in a storm tide evacuation area. If it is, arrange a safer place for your evacuation as part of your preparations. Ask friends or family that live in secure accommodation, in an area further inland and on higher ground if you can seek shelter in case of storm tide.
Storm tide can damage and destroy buildings, cut off evacuation routes and cause injuries and fatalities. You put yourself and your family at great risk if you do not evacuate when requested.
If you don't live in a storm tide evacuation area, sheltering in place by staying in your home is often the best option. However, if you live in an old home, built before 1982, or if you have special needs, it may be safer to stay with family or friends in a newer home.
A Cyclone Watch is issued by the Bureau of Meteorology when gales or stronger winds associated with a cyclone are expected to hit within 24 to 48 hours. A Cyclone Warning is issued by the Bureau when gales or stronger winds are expected to hit within 24 hours.
When you hear a cyclone warning and it is safe to shelter in place:
- activate your Emergency Plan
- turn off all mains supply and unplug all appliances
- bring your family into the strongest part of the house (usually the smallest room in the house with the least windows)
- keep your Emergency Kit close at hand
- stay tuned into warnings via battery radio for updates
- stay away from glass windows and remain indoors until advised
- if the building begins to break up, immediately seek shelter under a strong table or bench or under a heavy mattress.
Beware the calm eye of the cyclone
Some people venture outdoors during the eye of a cyclone, mistakenly believing that the cyclone has passed. Stay inside until you have received official advice that it is safe to go outside.
More cyclone information: http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq/css/cyclone.asp
Severe Thunderstorms can produce large hail, damaging wind, lightning and heavy rainfall, which can cause death, injury and damage to property. The Bureau of Meteorology issues Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for these phenomena. Damaging winds and heavy rainfall can also be produced in other weather systems, such as in a monsoon or an East Coast Low, which can cause extensive damage to property and turn debris into dangerous missiles as well as producing dangerous surf conditions. For these systems, the Bureau of Meteorology issues Severe Weather Warnings.
Pay close attention to weather forecasts and warnings at any time of year but particularly during storm season - this information will assist you in daily preparations around the home. Radio news weather bulletins will usually provide the most information on current conditions and the latest warnings that have been issued.
If weather conditions indicate the possibility of storms, make sure you've completed the following precautions:
- your Emergency Plan is up-to-date and all householders know what to do in case of a severe storm
- your Emergency Kit is fully stocked
- your insurance is up-to-date and covers damage to home and contents in case of severe storm
- your yard and outdoor areas are free from loose items like patio furniture, garden tools and rubbish
- you have trimmed any overhanging branches, cleaned gutters and ensured roof and gutters are in good condition
- move vehicles under shelter or cover with firmly tied tarpaulins/blankets.
When you hear a severe storm warning:
- stay tuned into warnings
- contact family to make sure everyone is aware of the warning
- shelter and secure animals
- secure outdoor furniture and gardening items
- park vehicles under shelter or cover with firmly tied tarpaulins/blankets
- disconnect all electrical items, aerials and computer modems.
During a severe storm:
- stay tuned into warnings via battery powered radio
- activate your Emergency Plan
- stay inside and shelter well clear of windows, doors and skylights
- if the building starts to break up, shelter in the strongest part of your house (cellar, internal room, hallway or built-in wardrobe) under a mattress or strong table or bench
- if outdoors, seek solid enclosed shelter
- if driving, stop clear of trees, power lines and streams.
Severe storms can also produce flash flooding, so please refer to further information in the flood safety tips in this guide.
More severe storm information: http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq/css/severe_storm.asp
There are three different types of flood that can occur in Queensland.
Flash flooding is the most dangerous in terms of potential threat to loss of life and can result from relatively short, intense bursts of rainfall that can occur almost anywhere in Queensland. People are often swept away after they enter these floodwaters on foot, or in vehicles, due to the speed and power of the swift moving water.
There may be little or no advance warning for flash flood so it is important to:
- pay attention to weather patterns and weather forecasts
- stay away from rivers, creeks and drains
- get to higher ground
- act quickly
- never try to drive, ride or walk through a flash flood.
Mountain or coastal rivers quick onset flooding occurs in the mountain headwater areas of large rivers, as well as in rivers that drain to the coast. In these areas, the rivers are steeper and flow more quickly, with flooding lasting for one or two days. These floods can pose a risk to loss of life and property as there is much less time to prepare and the flow of water is faster and more dangerous.
Inland rivers slow onset flooding is the flooding of rivers in the vast flat areas of central and western Queensland that may last for one or more weeks and can lead to:
- major loss of livestock and crop damage
- extensive damage to rural towns and road and rail links
- isolation of whole communities for weeks and sometimes months.
The Bureau of Meteorology provides:
- generalised flood warnings where flooding is occurring, or is expected to occur, in a particular region where no specialised warning systems have been installed
- warnings for severe storms that may cause flash flooding
- warnings of minor, moderate or major flooding in areas where specialised warning systems have been installed. In these areas the warning message will identify the river valley, the locations expected to be flooded, the likely severity of the flooding and when it is likely to occur.
When you hear warnings for the potential of flood or severe storm:
- activate your Emergency Plan
- stay tuned into warnings and updates
- move vehicles, outdoor equipment, garbage, chemicals and poisons to higher locations
- sandbag indoor drains to prevent sewage backflow
- plan which indoor items you will raise or empty if water threatens your home
- check your Emergency Kit is fully stocked.
If you need to evacuate
If you need to evacuate due to the expected arrival of floodwater, follow the evacuation tips included in your Emergency Plan and travel to your predetermined safer location.
Think about the consequences of your actions and don't risk your life or the lives of others.
DON'T DRIVE THROUGH FLOOD WATER.
Emergency services receive many calls every year for assistance to people who have ignored traffic signs and road closures and become stranded in flood waters.
This is extremely dangerous behaviour and also puts the lives of rescue personnel at risk. Think about the consequences of your actions and don't risk your life or the lives of others. Don't drive through flood water.
Children may think playing in flood water is fun but it is very dangerous. In Queensland, many young lives have been lost from children playing in and around flood water. Warn children of these dangers and to keep away from floodwater.
More flood information: http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq/css/flood.asp
A tsunami is a series of powerful, fast moving waves produced during a large scale ocean disturbance. Tsunami can occur with very little warning and are caused by a variety of events such as earthquake, volcanic eruptions, explosions or landslides.
Tsunami can cause rapid and unpredictable changes in water level, resulting in dangerous rips and currents in harbours, coastal inland waterways and along beaches. Less frequently, tsunami can also result in more serious inundation of coastal land, serious threat to lives and damage to property in low lying coastal areas.
The effects of a tsunami on currents may last for several hours or even days. Because of the limited warning time for a tsunami, it is very important for you to plan and prepare in advance.
Tsunami are different from wind swell waves in several ways:
- The volume of water moved by a tsunami is significantly more than that moved by regular ocean waves.
- There may be a relatively long time between each wave arriving at the coastline and the first wave is not necessarily the largest.
- As a tsunami approaches the shore, it may appear as a rapidly rising or falling tide.
- Even a relatively small tsunami can be very dangerous to swimmers and mariners.
You may be advised to do any or all of the following when a tsunami warning has been issued:
- Get out of the water and move away from the immediate water's edge of harbours, coastal estuaries, rock platforms and beaches.
- If on a boat or ship in a harbour, estuary or shallow water close to shore, and there is enough time, return to land, secure your vessel and move to higher ground.
- If on a ship or boat at sea, move to deep water (open ocean) well off-shore and remain there until further advised.
- If you are advised to evacuate, lock your home and follow recommended evacuation routes for your area.
- It will be in your own interests to walk to safety if possible to avoid traffic jams.
- If you are unable to leave the area, take shelter in the upper level of a sturdy brick or concrete multi-storey building and stay there until advised it is safe to leave.
- Wait for the all-clear before returning to your home or to port.
When you hear a Tsunami Warning, phone 1300 TSUNAMI (1300 878 6264) for specific and current warning information.
More tsunami information: http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq/css/tsunami.asp