Planning for an Emergency
While Council and emergency services work together to prevent and prepare for all types of emergencies, it is important that community members take responsibility for their family, pets, business and properties. Emergencies can occur at any time and often unexpectedly.
Developing Your Personal Emergency Plan
Every home should have an emergency plan. Having a plan could save your life or the lives of others. The CFA website has a template that can assist you to develop a bushfire plan or the SES website has tips on developing a flood plan. Discuss the plan with all members of your household. Make sure you consider all situations, for example, when you’re at work, the weekends, or when you have visitors. '
When developing your plan consider the following:
- Can you stay with family or friends if your home is inaccessible or damaged?
- Plan what to do if your children are at home alone when an emergency happens.
- Plan what you will do with your pets in the event of an emergency.
- Store important documents including birth certificates, wills, photographs and valuables in a safe place so they will not be destroyed.
- Do you have a list of emergency contacts ready, including family, friends, doctor and vet?
Write down your emergency plan and make sure everyone knows what your plan is in the event of an emergency. If you live on your own, tell a friend or family member what your plan is. If you live with others make sure you all agree to the plan and everyone is clear about their responsibilities. Practice your emergency plan as this will reduce the amount of stress and panic you may experience in an emergency and you can make changes before the emergency.
It is also important to ensure your home, business or property is adequately insured and the cover is up to date. Make sure you understand what is covered under certain circumstances.
All households should have an emergency kit prepared to help your family in an emergency.
Recommended items include:
- A torch with spare batteries, candles and waterproof matches
- A battery operated radio with spare batteries
- A mobile phone, spare battery and charger
- Change of clothing for each family member (wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, sun screen, leather gloves)
- Strong outdoor shoes or boots for each family member
- First aid kit including sunscreen and essential medication and toiletries
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Pet supplies
- Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet
- Face and dust masks
- Books, playing cards and games
- Credit cards, ATM cards and cash
- Spare house keys and car keys
- Food and water for at least three days, including non-perishable food (canned or dried), bottled water (at least three litres per person per day for drinking)
- Plan how to get water for washing and cooking (check your hot water service, pond and toilet cistern if it is free of chemicals)
- A primus or gas barbecue to cook on with spare gas cylinders
- A can opener and other utensils
- If you have a baby or young children include food and formula, a change of clothing and nappies, toys or favourite activity
It is recommended that you check the items in your emergency kit every year, and replace expired items with fresh items. Keep your emergency kit somewhere easy to locate. Make sure that other members of your household know where the emergency kit is stored.
In the event of an emergency, emergency service vehicles need to be able to locate your property easily and quickly and your house number needs to be clearly visible from the road. Guidelines for displaying house numbers include:
- Minimum height for house numbers is 75mm
- Use plain, legible numbers from white or yellow reflective material
- Display the numbers on the front of your letterbox
- Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed around your letterbox
If you live in a unit or flat make sure your house number is located on the wall next to your front door.
Pets in Emergencies
If you have pets or other animals, it is your responsibility to ensure their safety during an emergency. Ensure the following is available during an emergency:
- Contact phone numbers for your local vet, RSPCA or local animal shelter
- Appropriate identification (name tags or micro chipping)
- Secure portable carry cage and leads
- Non-perishable food and water