If an emergency happened, would you know how to respond
Emergencies can arise at any time, so it is important to take simple steps to protect yourself, your family and property in a natural disaster or local emergency.
Simple actions to be emergency ready include preparing an emergency plan, preparing an emergency kit and signing up for emergency warnings and alerts.
The best way to stay safe in an emergency is to be informed. Tune in to local radio, websites or other media and listen for advice, instructions and updates. You could also use a battery-powered radio or your car radio (if it is safe to access your car). For severe weather information visit the Bureau of Meteorology.
Emergency alerts are sent by emergency services to landline telephones based on the location of the handset, and to mobile phones based on the service address. In the case of an emergency, you may receive a voice message on your landline or a text message to your mobile phone.
Stay in touch with your family, neighbours and friends
Sometimes mobile phone services may not be available. Emergency services may ask you not to use your mobile to prevent network overload and ensure phone lines are available for the emergency services. Otherwise, provided that phone networks are still working:
- send out a text message or call close family members and friends to check they are safe and let them know you are safe
- notify Police if family, friends or neighbours are missing
- let others know of the emergency risk, they may not have heard the emergency warning yet
- use social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter to share emergency warnings
Know what to do and who to contact when an emergency happens in Lake Macquarie.
In the case of a flood, never drive, ride, walk or play in floodwater. Water may be deeper, or flow faster than you think. It may also contain hidden snags and debris.
During extreme heat children, pregnant or nursing women, the elderly and pets are more likely to suffer the effects of heat. The easiest way to avoid heat-related illnesses is to stay hydrated by drinking water, stay out of the sun, wear light-weight or loose fitting clothing, avoid caffeine and alcohol, have a cool shower or bath and seek air conditioned or cooled environments e.g. shopping centres, cinemas or your local library.
Should I evacuate
During an emergency it is important to be aware of the dangers and risks to your safety and when it is likely to impact on you. In determining whether to stay or evacuate, you need to be aware of and follow any emergency warnings and you should not leave evacuating to the last moment.
You may receive evacuation warnings or orders:
- from Police or other emergency workers
- through media or official emergency services websites
- through a government-issued emergency alert to your phone
When you do receive an evacuation order, it is essential that you follow the instructions. Every home should have an emergency plan and emergency kit prepared should you need to evacuate.
If you have time, turn off electricity, gas and water supplies, unplug appliances and lock all doors and windows before leaving.
Where to go
During an emergency situation, if you cannot return to your home, you should:
- go to the house of a friend or relative, if it is safe, or
- go to your nearest Neighbourhood Safer Places during a bush fire as a last resort
If you have evacuated, it may not be safe to return to your house. You must wait until emergency agencies give the all clear.
Stay tuned in to local radio stations for information, updates, and advice. Remember to stay clear of affected areas, particularly damaged buildings and roadways.
People returning to affected areas need to be aware of health and safety issues. Take precautions when travelling in disaster affected areas and wear protective clothing, particularly when clearing debris.
If your property is badly damaged seek a professional property inspection before entering the house. Services such as water, electricity and gas may have been disconnected.
Contact the service provider for reconnection, do not attempt to do it yourself. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of any loss or damages.
If you are not insured, there may be resources available through government or non-government agencies. If you return home and your animal is missing, contact our Customer Service Centre on 02 4921 0333 or the RSPCA. For information on animal welfare during disasters, such as livestock, contact The NSW Department of Primary Industries on 1800 808 095.
Relevant State and Federal Government authorities, along with other service agencies coordinate recovery operations to help people and communities get back on their feet after an emergency.
Evacuation centres may be established to provide immediate assistance to those evacuated from their homes or who are in need of shelter. If you decide to go to an evacuation centre, you will need to be prepared and take personal requisites such as clothing, medication and bedding with you.
Recovery centres may also be established to provide a one-stop-shop for support and assistance.
Council supports leading emergency services agencies to manage and respond to local natural disasters and emergencies.
Page last updated: 25 October 2015