What to do in emergency situations

Here are some helpful hints to help you 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


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
  • SES will have further information on flooding or storms


Each year more people die and are injured in house fires than in bushfires. The MFB have some useful home safety tips. 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

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
  • Find out what to do in an electrical 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.

Work Safe Australia provides information about hazardous waste in the workplace.

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.

Australian National Security will have more information on what you can do to help minimise terrorist threats and what to do during a terrorist attack

Epidemics (such as diseases, viruses)

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 e.g an influenza pandemic.

Immunising people who are at risk of complications from the flu is the most important way we have to reduce the number of flu infections and deaths.

Further information to help you plan for an emergency:

For more information call Yarra City Council on 9205 5555 or email [email protected].