Preparing for emergencies

Cleaning gutters

The Toowoomba Region is one of Australia’s most picturesque and productive areas. We are blessed with moderate climatic conditions, rich soil and beautiful landscapes. However, just like any region, from time to time we are faced with adverse weather events and natural disasters. We can never be too prepared for times of nature’s destructive force.

In the event of an emergency or disaster there is often little time to act, however, there are vital preparations that can be completed ahead of time to ensure the best possible mitigation against injury and loss of life.

 

Types of disasters that can impact our region

Always be prepared for the following events to minimise danger to yourself, your family and your property.

 

Useful helpsheets

 

Be prepared

Here are 5 simple steps to assist in preparing your household for natural hazards and emergencies.

Preparing your household

Download a 'Household emergency plan' form from Get Ready Queensland.

1. Identify risks

2. Create a household emergency plan

Sit down with all members of your household and decide how you will contact each other, where you will go and what you will do in an emergency, taking all family members into consideration. Record this information in a household emergency plan and keep copies in your emergency and evacuation Kits (see step 3) and another safe place for easy access in the event of a disaster. Review and practice your emergency plan regularly (recommended three times per year).

3. List emergency contacts

Create an emergency contacts list and keep it in a safe place where all household members can find and read it. Use the emergency contacts listed on our Emergency contacts and related links page as a starting point and add other relevant contacts to it.

Preparing your business

Access 'Natural disaster preparation' checklists for your business from Business Queensland.

1. Develop a business continuity plan

This plan should include the following tasks:

  • Organising insurance
  • Training staff in first aid
  • Establishing evacuation procedures
  • Backing up business data
  • Identifying risks to staffing and information systems
  • Preparing your business premises

2. Develop a business emergency plan

List the actions staff should take when an emergency occurs, including putting down sandbags and boarding up glass doors and windows, then train staff in their responsibilities.

Decide on the best plan for your circumstances and take the following steps:

  • Ensure pets are properly identified
  • Secure animals inside before an emergency event
  • Use a secure carrier or leash when transporting animals
  • Investigate boarding options away from the emergency zone
  • If housing your animal away from home temporarily, ensure it has necessary food and medication for its stay

Download the 'Pet emergency plan' fact sheet from Get Ready Queensland.

Evacuating with your pet

Create a pet emergency kit including:

  • Medications for up to two weeks, medical and vaccination records and vet details
  • Food and bottled water for each pet for up to two weeks plus can opener
  • Familiar bedding, toys and grooming equipment
  • Secure pet carrier and leash
  • Sanitation items such as newspaper, paper towel, disinfectant and rubbish bags
  • Details of identification methods
  • A current photograph for identification purposes
  • Contact details for your vet, pet information and advisory services

Evacuating without your pet

Leave your pet in the strongest part of your home and:

  • Leave plenty of food and water in sturdy,  non-spill accessible containers
  • Fill the bathtub with water and disinfect the toilet bowl, flush well, fill and leave the lid open
  • Provide comfortable and familiar bedding
  • Never leave a cat in the same room with a dog even if they get along
  • Provide fish with long-term food blocks and install back-up power for fish tank filters
  • Put water and a special food dispenser in bird cages as birds need food daily

Prepare your emergency and evacuation kits in a sturdy, easy to carry bag or waterproof storage box and store in a safe place that is easy to access.

Download the 'Evacuation checklist' from Get Ready Queensland.

Items to include in your emergency kit

  • Important documents in sealed bags or scanned to a USB
  • Torch and batteries
  • Baby formula and nappies
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Fresh water for three days
  • Non-perishable food for three days and a can opener
  • Toiletries
  • Waterproof bags
  • Portable radio
  • Essential medication
  • First aid kit
  • Spare batteries for radio, torch and mobile phone

Items to include in your evacuation kit

  • Emergency plans
  • Emergency kit
  • Cash (ATMs and banks may not be available)
  • Valuables and mementos
  • Sleeping bags
  • Pillows
  • Warm clothes
  • Towels
  • Kids toys and entertainment

Emergency general maintenance graphic

Download the 'Prepare your home' fact sheet from Get Ready Queensland.

1. General maintenance

  • Check roof condition and repair loose tiles, eaves and screws
  • Clean gutters and downpipes so water can drain away quickly
  • Trim trees and overhanging branches
  • Secure loose items that could cause damage if blown around

2. General preparations

  • Ensure your home, contents and car insurance is current, adequate and includes debris clean up and removal
  • Identify the strongest part of your home to take shelter in during  a severe storm – this is usually the smallest room in the house with the fewest windows
  • Know where and how to turn off main supply for water,  power and gas
  • Buy emergency essentials including:
    • Drinking water containers
    • Spare fuel
    • Wide masking tape for windows
    • Hessian bags and sand for sandbagging

During an emergency you need to tune in, log on, listen and act. Assume all warnings are urgent and you need to act immediately on the information provided.

Download the 'Tune into warnings' fact sheet from Get Ready Queensland.

1. Tune in

  • Tune your radio to your local ABC or commercial radio station frequency to listen for weather and warning updates – see our Emergency contacts and related links web page for frequencies.
  • Turn your television on to your local station to watch and listen for warning updates

2. Log on

3. Listen out

  • For the standard emergency warning signal used at the beginning of serious emergency warnings
  • For emergency alert voice messages to your landline and text messages to your mobile phone
  • For local community safety announcements on radio and television
  • For sirens and loud hailer announcements from emergency services
  • For emergency services personnel who may door-knock your area

4. Act

  • Ensure all household members are aware of emergency warnings and advice
  • Check on family, neighbours and friends who may need assistance
  • Locate and collect your emergency plan, emergency kit and evacuation kit
  • Activate your emergency plan
  • If you are visiting the region, contact your accommodation manager for evacuation options

 

What to do after an emergency

It is important to take steps to ensure physical and mental health and safety after an emergency situation.

1. Ensure safety

Make sure you and the people with you are safe by following these guidelines:

  • Do not return home until advised by authorities and use the recommended route
  • Be cautious when going outside
  • Watch for displaced wildlife such as snakes
  • Watch for downed powerlines, which may be hidden in debris
  • If you find downed powerlines treat them as live, keep people clear and notify Ergon Energy
  • If your house has been damaged, ensure everyone is safe, stay clear and call for emergency services assistance. See our Emergency contacts and related links webpage for relevant contact details.

2. Remain calm

Take the following steps to control your fears, emotions and actions:

  • Stop what you are doing and take some slow, deep breaths
  • Talk about your feelings calmly with family
  • Focus on the practical tasks you can do to be prepared and stay safe
  • Explain events to children, reassure them and let them help
  • Talk about the experience with others after danger has passed
  • If feelings of distress continue for an extended period contact your doctor

 

Related websites

The following sites can assist in being prepared for emergencies.

Get Ready Queensland 

Qld Gov Emergency Management - Be Prepared

Preparing for an emergency facts sheets - available in 16 languages

The Australian Red Cross emergency resources

Queensland Fire & Emergency Services - community education

 

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