How to prepare for emergencies

Have a plan

Everybody needs an emergency plan and kit

  • What would you do if you had to face an emergency at home or at work?
  • Knowing what needs to be done makes it easier to stay calm if an emergency should occur. Preparation is the key to survival.
  • By planning ahead, you can reduce the risk of injury and damage to property.
  • Don’t wait until it’s too late. 

Your own plan - preparing an emergency plan

Since you can’t prevent an emergency occurring, it makes good sense to take a few basic precautions to prepare your family and your home. Make sure all family members are involved and know their role.

  1. Check you have adequate household and contents insurance.
  2. Find out where to turn off power, gas and water supplies.
  3. Store important documents like wills, passports, photos and birth certificates in a fire/water resistant container or safe deposit box.
  4. Prepare an emergency kit and keep it in a prominent place.
  5. Write down emergency telephone numbers and keep them in a prominent place.
  6. Plan for your pets

Have supplies ready

You can prepare for an emergency by keeping supplies such as candles, torches, first aid kits, and canned food etc. All members of the family should know where these supplies are kept in your house.

Do not depend on power and telephones as they will often fail in an emergency. Radios may be your only means of contact during an emergency - ensure you have a battery powered radio and keep spare batteries handy.

Know how and where to turn off your gas, electricity and water.

What to do in an emergency

  • Stay tuned to a battery powered radio or television where possible, to avoid electricity use. A Standard Emergency Warning signal is often used on radio or television before official messages.
  • Listen carefully as the messages will include instructions on what is happening and what you should do.
  • Police will attempt to notify non-English speaking people through interpreters and ethnic radio stations, however residents should help look after neighbours who may be elderly, sick or do not speak English.
  • Protect pets by making sure they can be easily moved if evacuation is necessary.
  • Use your phone only for emergency.
  • Keep lines clear for essential calls.
  • If you are not affected, stay home leaving the roads clear for emergency vehicles.

In an emergency you may be instructed to evacuate by a police door-knock in your area, or by radio or television messages. You will be advised at the time where your nearest emergency relief centre is located. These centres are set up and run by Council. Your local emergency relief centre video by Emergency Relief and Recovery Victoria explains what to expect at an emergency relief centre.

Emergency messages will be broadcast to the community using the local radio network.

Emergency kit

It is also useful to have a bag ready containing:

  • battery operated AM/FM radio and torch with spare batteries
  • supply of water and non-perishable food
  • personal items including medication and toiletries, and
  • basic first aid kit and manual.

Prepare your kit early and keep it in an easily accessible area such as the kitchen hallway.

Make sure the kit is portable and keep it up to date.

If you have to leave your home

If you leave your house or building because of an emergency:

  • listen for emergency warnings and safety advice on radio
  • metro area emergencies: 1278, 774 AM
  • turn off power, gas, and water and secure doors and windows (if it is safe to do so)
  • take your emergency kit with you, and
  • cooperate with emergency services.

Getting emergency fire assistance video by Emergency Relief and Recovery Victoria discusses the types of assistance available from Victorian Government in emergencies.

Australian Red Cross responds to emergencies and provides humanitarian assistance in Australia.