Queensland is Australia’s most disaster prone state and the Gold Coast has its fair share of natural disasters.
Being prepared can help safeguard your family, pets and property against severe storms, cyclones, floods and bushfires.
Check out the latest tips below.
An emergency kit is essential in a natural disaster.
When preparing your kit, think about how you would survive if you lost access to drinking water, power, the internet and other services for up to three days.
Items to include are:
- bottled water
- tinned food
- a torch with spare batteries
- a portable phone charger
- a battery radio also with spare batteries
- a medical kit
- copies of important documents in waterproof bags and
- any special needs for your family like infant formula or prescription medicines.
You’ll find most of what you need around the house or with your camping gear.
Store your items in a waterproof container somewhere handy and let the rest of your family know where your kit is.
Watch our videos about preparing an emergency kit and evacuation plan.
Find out more about preparing for a bushfire, visit Queensland's Rural Fire Service website.
What's your what-if plan?
Having an emergency and evacuation plan can help buffer the impacts of a natural disaster on you and your family. The following checklists may help you put a plan together.
Preparing an emergency and evacuation plan
|Know your risks
- Identify the potential hazards that could occur in your local area and the warning systems in place.
- Think about your situation and how you would cope without power and access to services and the internet for up to three days.
- Ensure you have safety switches installed and test them regularly.
- If anyone in your house relies on electrical equipment for medical reasons, have a plan if your power is cut – don’t assume it will be restored quickly.
- Who might you need to contact in a disaster including family, friends, insurance and emergency services?
- Teach children how and when to dial Triple zero (000).
|Separation and evacuation
- Where would you meet your loved ones if you were separated?
- How would you get your children from school or childcare?
- Where you would go if you had to evacuate?
- Ask about emergency evacuation plans at your school, workplace, childcare centre and other organisations.
- Ensure all household members know where, how and when to turn off the power, water and gas supplies in case of evacuation.
- Know where the power lines are on your property so you can ensure you avoid them if you have to evacuate.
|Pets and neighbours
- What alternative routes could you use if roads around your home / work / school / office were flooded or blocked?
- Check important policies and documents, such as insurances and wills, are up-to-date and provide the cover required for your area and the nature of your household.
|Share your plan
- Ensure all household members (including children) are familiar with your emergency plan. If you save it onto your computer, be sure to keep a printed copy in your Emergency Kit in case power is disrupted.
For more information download the Gold Coast Disaster Guide or watch our videos about preparing an emergency kit and evacuation plan.
Making a bushfire survival plan
A bushfire survival plan details how to prepare and what action to take if threatened by a bushfire. It’s important to sit down with your family and discuss what steps you will take to prepare, act and survive this bushfire season.
Top tips for preparing your survival plan:
- Commit and do it. Write down your plan and practice it regularly
- Consider the age and physical capability of every member of your household
- What decisions will be made based on the Fire Danger Rating?
- Decide under what conditions you will stay (if any) and when it would be best to leave well in advance of a fire. Children, the elderly and those who are vulnerable are advised to leave well before a bushfire threatens and should not be part of any plans to stay at the property.
You’ll find more information about bushfire preparedness on Queensland's Rural Fire Service website.
Protecting your home in severe weather
Use this checklist to help minimise the impact of severe weather on your home:
- regularly check your roof to make sure it’s in good condition
- plan to have any tree branches removed if they are close to your house
- keep gutters, downpipes and drains clear
- identify loose objects in your yard and on your balcony, such as outdoor furniture and toys that will have to be put away or secured if a storm approaches
- make sure all shades, sails and awnings are properly secured
- keep your vehicle undercover
- ensure your home, contents and car insurance is adequate and current
- identify the safest room in which to shelter during a storm
- learn how to safely turn off your power, water and gas
- if you don’t already know your neighbours, go and introduce yourself, they may need a hand getting storm ready.
It's also important to take steps to prepare your home before bushfire season.
- Ensure your house number is clearly displayed for emergency service crews.
- Mow your lawn regularly, remove excess combustible material (e.g. dry grass, dead leaves and branches) from your yard and move any flammable items such as wood piles, paper, boxes, crates and garden furniture well away from the house.
- Trim low-lying branches and keep gutters clear of leaves and debris.
- Check that pumps, generators and water systems are working and that your first-aid kit is fully stocked.
Find out more information on bushfire safety and preparing your Bushfire Survival Plan on Queensland's Rural Fire Service website.
Sandbags can reduce the impact of flooding if they're placed in appropriate locations around your home or business, when placed correctly.
Rather than relying on the City of Gold Coast or the SES, you should buy or make your own sandbags to prepare for a serious weather event.
The City of Gold Coast will provide sandbags to residents in anticipation of some major weather events and will notify the public of collection details.
Sandbags can be purchased at major hardware stores, landscape suppliers and other retailers. You can also make your own makeshift sandbags from garbage bags filled with soil.
It is important to understand that sandbag walls are not waterproof and will not stop the water completely. You can use plastic sheeting with sandbags to reduce the amount of water entering.
Queensland State Emergency Services (SES) offer a useful instructional video on how to sandbag your home and business.
Protecting your pets in a disaster
- Secure pets inside before any major weather event so they don’t run away.
- If they are too large to be housed inside, it’s best to pre-arrange relocating your pets/ animals to a nearby property or safe location before a major weather event hits.
- Use a secure pet carrier/cage, leash or harness to transport animals to safety.
- Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date.
- If you have a cat or dog, ensure your pet is registered with council, properly identified and microchipped. Keep copies of these papers with copies of your other important documents in your emergency kit.
- Have a current photograph in case you need to identify your pet.
Trained assistance dogs
Trained assistance dogs are allowed to stay in emergency shelters with their owners. Proper identification and proof of vaccination may be required.
For more information, download the Queensland Government's pets’ disaster fact sheet.
Protecting your business against natural disasters
Natural disasters can have a major impact on local business. Examples include:
- damage to buildings and equipment
- restricted or blocked access
- phone, WIFI and power outages
- disruptions to supply chains
- accessibility to staff and contractors.
It’s important to have an emergency kit and plan for your office as well as your home.
Download a checklist to help safeguard your business against a disaster from the Get Ready Queensland website.
Your neighbours may be the first people available to assist you in an emergency. Getting to know your neighbours is an important part of being prepared for storm and bushfire season.
For tips on how local communities can support each other, check out the Queensland Government Getting to know your neighbours fact sheet.
It is important that as many people as possible have access to this information that can assist them. If you have a friend or neighbour who speaks Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese (simplified or traditional), Farsi (Persian), Italian, Japanese, Korean or Spanish please tell them about the multilingual disaster management resources available via our Disaster management videos and resources page.
Visit our common types of disasters page for more information.