Respond: During a Disaster

The most important thing to remember during a natural disaster is to follow the instructions of local authorities and emergency services and stay calm.

For assistance during a disaster, telephone:

  • Police/Fire/Ambulance (life threatening emergencies): 000. 
  • State Emergency Service: 132 500.
  • Local Disaster Coordination Centre 1300 652 659. 

Log On, Tune In, Listen Out and Act!

Log on to the Emergency Dashboard for local emergency contact information, weather warnings, road conditions and possible evacuation information and routes.

Tune in on your battery powered radio to official local radio (837AM ABC) and/or local television stations to listen for weather and warning updates.

Listen out:

  • The Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) which is a wailing siren sound used throughout Australia for various emergency events of major significance.
  • The Emergency Alert Service is the national telephone based emergency warning system that sends messages via landlines and mobile phones.
  • Loud-hailers and megaphones are mounted on vehicles playing announcements informing the areas they drive through of important information.
  • Emergency Services personnel may door-knock your local area to pass on warnings.

Act immediately on advice provided: the information in the warnings can mean further action is required. Ensure all householders are aware of any warnings or advice, and check on neighbours and friends who may need special assistance or may not be aware of the current situation. If a disaster is imminent you may need to activate your Household Emergency Plan and Kit.

Evacuation Information

Whilst the Local Disaster Coordination Centre (LDCC) and relevant emergency services will do all they can to assist the community in times of disaster, it should be remembered that individuals are ultimately responsible for their own safety.

There are three degrees of evacuation:

  1. Self Evacuation – This is when a household decides they can not stay in their home during a disaster (for example, their house isn’t strong enough to withstand the winds of a cyclone). Consider staying with family or friends that live in an area that won’t be impacted by the disaster or is a safer alternative. It is important to do this early in case the situation changes.
  2. Advised Evacuation – This is when the disaster is likely to impact on a certain area. Authorities will advise residents of the area to evacuate. In these situations there is still time for residents to safely evacuate and an evacuation centre is often set up. Precautions similar to those in self evacuation should be taken.
  3. Mandatory Evacuation – This means that all notified residents must evacuate. Such an order would not be delivered without a good reason and generally relates to the safety of those likely to be impacted by flood waters and property inundation, a threatening bushfire or chemical incident.

If evacuation is advised or mandatory, the LDCC will advise the location/s of temporary accommodation or evacuation centre/s. 

No matter what, it is important that you be prepared if evacuation if required.