What to do in Emergency Situations

Here are some helpful actions you can take to prepare for an emergency situation.

  • Decide how you will stay in touch with family and friends during or after an emergency
  • Agree on how you will contact each other if not at home, who will collect family members, and who will check on neighbours
  • Make sure your home and contents insurance is current and adequate
  • Organise an out-of-town person your family or household members can contact in case you are separated. Make a list of that person's contact details (home, mobile and work phone numbers and email) and provide them to your workplace and to your children's school
  • Check and offer support to neighbours and relatives particularly those with special needs such as elderly people and people with disabilities
  • Make arrangements for pets to ensure they will be safe and have food and water
  • Keep some basic emergency supplies at home (e.g. prepare an emergency kit)
  • Keep a copy of important documents in a safe place outside of your home
  • Know how and where to turn off electricity, gas and water supplies to your home
  • Keep a list of your local emergency telephone numbers near your phone
  • Learn some basic first aid

Useful links

Caring for pets in an emergency
Preparing an emergency kit
Food safety in an emergency
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)
Emergency Services in Australia
Victorian road closures 

During a storm

Severe storms are the most frequently damaging natural hazards and can occur anywhere, any time. To help minimise the effects of storms, maintain trees around your property by trimming back their branches and clean out your gutters and downpipes, as most electrical problems occur due to ceilings being flooded.

  • Stay inside. Shelter well clear of windows and skylights
  • If the building starts to break up, shelter in the strongest part of the house (cellar, internal room, hallway or built-in wardrobe) under a mattress, doona, or a strong table or bench
  • Listen to the ABC 774AM for storm updates, official warnings and advice
  • If outdoors, seek solid enclosed shelter (not a tree)
  • If driving, stay clear of trees, power lines and streams
  • If possible avoid using a fixed (landline) telephone during a thunderstorm
  • Check for damaged windows, walls or roof (temporarily cover with plastic sheeting and nailed-on wooden strips)
  • Beware of fallen power lines, damaged buildings, trees, and flooded watercourses
  • Do not go sightseeing
  • Watch for emergency services personnel who will be checking your area
  • If your house is damaged in a storm, contact the SES on 132 500


In the event of flooding from heavy rain and watercourses:

  • Listen to ABC 774AM or your local radio station for warning and advice
  • Plan which indoor items you will raise or empty if water threatens your home
  • Prepare to move furniture, vehicles, outdoor equipment, garbage, chemicals and poisons to higher locations
  • If necessary, turn off power, water and gas
  • If flood damage occurs to your house, contact the SES on 132 500

For further information on flooding or storms visit the SES website


Each year more people die and are injured in house fires than in bushfires. Here are some simple rules to follow to help keep you safe in your home:

  • Keep emergency numbers near the phone 
  • Practise your home fire escape plan regularly 
  • During a fire stay low to the floor, as smoke and heat rises
  • Use the emergency exit to get out of the building as quickly and safely as possible, do not use a lift
  • Check doors before opening them, if they feel hot there may be fire on the other side
  • Call the Fire Brigade on 000

Useful links

Home Safety

Power outages

The most important thing during a power outage is to stay safe.

  • Keep clear of fallen power lines and keep others away
  • Be careful with temporary generators
  • If there has been significant damage to your property, ensure that a licensed electrician checks that it is safe to turn your power back on.

Useful links

Further information on power outages
What to do in an electrical emergency


The City of Yarra has a Heatwave Plan that provides a framework and guidance for Council and other heatwave stakeholders in the municipality to appropriately plan for and effectively respond to heatwave conditions.

The objectives of this plan are to:

  • Inform people in the community of the risks associated with heatwaves
  • Outline actions that the stakeholders can take to mitigate the impact of heatwaves
  • Complement and support other local, regional and state emergency management plans

During a heatwave Council advises residents and visitors to take the following steps:

  • Cool your house down - close windows during the day if they're exposed to the sun; open windows at night when the temperature is cooler.
  • Stay out of the heat - Keep out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. Avoid intense excercise and wear light, loose fitting clothes. Find air conditioned spaces during the day.
  • Keep cool and hydrated - drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Take a cool shower and spray cool water on your skin and clothes. 
  • Assist others - Never leave children or pets in cars. Contact sick or elderly friends, family and neighbours to see if they're ok.
  • Get help - call Nurse on Call for health advice or 000 in case of emergency.

Hazardous chemical release

Hazardous chemicals range from household chemicals and more toxic industrial chemicals through to highly toxic chemical warfare agents. In the event of a hazardous chemical release, emergency services will identify the hazard and tell you what to do. You may be asked to either remain in the protection of your home or workplace and seal windows and doors, or to evacuate the area. If the chemicals are heavier than air, emergency services may ask you to move to higher ground. For your safety, in all circumstances, listen to advice from emergency services.

For more information on hazardous waste in the workplace please visit the Work Safe Australia website.

Terrorist attack

Small pieces of information from members of the public can help keep Australia safe from terrorism. If you see anything suspicious call the 24-hour National Security Hotline on 1800 1234 00.

Trained operators take every call seriously and you can remain anonymous.

Visit the  Australian National Security website for information on what you can do to help minimise terrorist threats and what to do during a terrorist attack 

Epidemics (diseases, viruses etc.)

An epidemic is the occurrence of more cases of a disease than would be expected in a community or region during a given time period. A pandemic is used to describe an epidemic that affects the whole population across every continent.

Useful links

Influenza Information

Immunisation Info



Further information 
Lucy Saaroni
Emergency Management Planning Officer
9205 5550

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