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Basic Family Disaster Plan

The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency. Learn how to protect yourself and cope with disaster by planning ahead.

This checklist will help you get started. Discuss these ideas with your family, decide who in your household will do what in an emergency and make sure everyone knows his or her role. For example, who will pick the children up from school or take care of the pets. Then prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it -- on the refrigerator or bulletin board.

How to create an Emergency Plan

  • Meet with household members. Discuss with children the dangers of bushfire, severe storms, cyclones, and other emergencies.
  • Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur.
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches. Write down where the main switches and valves are located.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones. Include your local police, fire, ambulance and council, and your State Emergency Service, together with gas and electricity suppliers.
  • Teach children how and when to call 000.
  • Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
  • Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
  • Teach children how to make long distance telephone calls.
  • Pick two meeting places where you can meet in the event of an incident that makes it impossible for you to get home.
    1. A place near your home in case of a fire.
    2. A place outside your neighbourhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.

Second, put together a Disaster Kit. Ideally, you should prepare your kit with all the following items, or at least make a list so you will know where to find them quickly in you home:

  • Battery-operated or self-powered radio (with spare batteries).
  • Torch (with spare batteries), candles and waterproof matches.
  • Strong shoes, leather gloves, hat, goggles and overalls.
  • First aid kit and manual, and combination pocket-knife.
  • Medications, toiletry and sanitary supplies and a change of clothes.
  • Special needs for infants, the aged and people with disabilities.
  • Water in sealed containers - ten litres per person (for three days).
  • Three days supply of food.
  • Pet food, water and other animal needs.
  • Portable stove (or BBQ) with fuel.
  • Tent or tarpaulin, and blankets (woollen and thermal).
  • Money, including change for phone calls (or phone card).
  • Strong plastic bags (for clothing, valuables, documents, and photographs).

For more information visit Emergency Management Australia or contact your closest branch of the State Emergency Service.


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Last Modified: April 15, 2008
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