Step by Step Disaster and Emergency Planning
  • Last updated:
  • 27 Sep 2022

Prepare yourself, your family, your home and your business ahead of the threat of disaster or emergency.

The Get Ready Queensland website has fact sheets with simple tips and check lists on how to prepare your household step by step.

Take the time to discuss what you and your family will do. Prepare your household emergency and evacuation plan ahead of time. Then, if an emergency threatens, you already know how you will respond because you will have thought through each scenario.

It is important to prepare for what can happen and to stay safe.

Develop your household emergency and evacuation plan with the entire household. You should discuss:

  • If you live in a flood prone area. If your home is at risk from storm tide. What types of things can you do to reduce water damage?
  • If you're separated when a disaster happens (at work or school etc), how will you stay in touch? Where will you meet up?
  • Where would you go if you need to evacuate your household?
  • What emergency contact phone numbers should be on your list? 
  • If anyone in your family, household or neighbourhood has specific medical conditions or special needs. What assistance will they need?
    • Include specific items in your emergency kit to assist people with communication or mobility difficulty
    • Arrange to notify anyone with a hearing impairment of emergency warnings and other vital news
    • Arrange to assist anyone with a sight impairment or mobility difficulty if evacuation is required.
  • Whether you need to make plans for your pets.

Use the prepare your household emergency plan template to develop your plan.

The most current versions of these fact sheets are available on the Get Ready Queensland website.

For many emergencies you may be able to ‘shelter in place’. This could be at home or at work. If so, your ability to securely see out the emergency will be greatly increased if you have an emergency or evacuation kit.

You need to take the time to prepare an emergency and evacuation kit well ahead of any impending disaster.

Emergency kit checklist

  Fresh water - 10 litres minimum per person  
  Three days worth of non-perishable food and can opener
  First aid kit
  Portable radio - battery powered
  Sturdy gloves
  Spare batteries for radio, torch and mobile phone
  Essential medication 
  Mobile phone and charger  
  Important documents in sealed bags and cash
  Baby formula and nappies
  Waterproof bags

Include items you will need for at least three days. There could be disruption to essential services such as power and water supplies. Also, include the equipment you'll need to prepare meals with no power.

Keep your kit in a waterproof storage container and store in an easy-to-access location. Check your kit every three months to stock up and rotate supplies to ensure provisions are fresh and safe to use.

Evacuation kit checklist

  Sleeping bag
  Kids toys/entertainment
  Warm clothes
  Valuables and mementos
  Essential medication 
  Mobile phone and charger  
  Important documents in sealed bags and cash
  Baby formula and nappies
  First aid kit
  Sturdy gloves
  Household aides e.g. prescription glasses, medi alert bracelet, dosage measures, syringes, epipen, batteries for hearing aid
   Torch - battery powered
  Portable radio - battery powered
  Drinking water
  Spare batteries
  Non perishable snacks

Preparing an evacuation kit now can save you time and stress in the event of cyclone, storm tide, flood or tsunami. Being prepared in advance is very helpful if you live in a low-lying coastal area or an area prone to flooding.

When you evacuate, ensure that you take your:

  • emergency kit
  • evacuation kit
  • household emergency and evacuation plan.

Prepare your home

Take the time now to prepare your home in case of an emergency or disaster.

General home maintenance

  • Keep your roof in good condition and check it regularly.
  • Keep gutters and downpipes clear so water can drain away quickly.
  • Trim trees and overhanging branches close to the house. Be aware of any overhead power lines.
  • Check and fix any:
    • corrosion
    • rotten timber
    • termite infestations
    • loose fittings.

General home preparations

  • Ensure your home, contents and car insurance is current and ample. Check your policy includes debris clean up and removal.
  • Identify your strongest room to 'shelter in place' during severe storm or cyclone.
  • Identify where and how to turn off the main supply for water, power and gas.
  • Have items on hand such as:
    • water storage containers
    • spare fuel for your vehicle. Ensure you store it safely
    • camp stove and fuel for cooking without power etc.

If you live in a flood-prone area:

  • store all poisons and garden chemicals well above ground level
  • identify indoor items you will need to raise or empty if flood threatens
  • consider alternatives to carpet
  • relocate power-points to well above previous flood levels. Use a licensed contractor to do this.

If you live in a cyclone / severe storm-prone area:

  • arrange for a professional builder to check the structural safety of your building. Identify ways you can make your home better withstand high winds
  • fit windows with shutters or metal screens for added safety during high winds.

Final home preparations

When warnings are issued for a cyclone or severe storm:

  • disconnect electrical appliances and external television / radio aerials. Turn off electricity and gas main supplies if instructed to do so
  • secure outdoor furniture and garden items
  • fill buckets and bath with clean water in case of interruptions to water supply
  • close windows with shutters or tape windows with strong tape and draw curtains.

When warnings are issued for flood:

  • disconnect electrical appliances
  • move outdoor equipment, garbage, chemicals and poisons to a higher location
  • empty and raise freezers/refrigerators and stack or move furniture, valuables and electrical items off-site
  • sandbag internal drains and toilets to prevent sewage backflow
  • move livestock, plant and feed to higher ground.

Use the Get Ready - House maintenance and preparation webpage to assist.

The most current versions of these fact sheets are available on the Get Ready Queensland website.

Prepare your business

All businesses need to plan and prepare for a disaster or emergency.

The best way for your business to cope in these circumstances is to have a plan before the disaster or emergency strikes. Time and clear thinking are luxuries in an emergency situation, which is why it is so important to be prepared.

Severe weather can impact on your business in the following ways:

  • Injury, or serious harm to your staff or customers.
  • Damage to buildings, vehicles and other important business assets.
  • Property damage, loss of stock and damage to electrical equipment and machinery.
  • Extended power outages may cause the loss of perishables, disrupt communications and business processes as well as preventing the operation of machinery.
  • Impact on staff members’ ability to travel to work.
  • Suppliers may be unable to deliver goods, which may impact on production schedules.
  • Customers and staff may not be able to access your premises for several days due to damage and/or flood impacts.

These impacts can lead to a significant loss of income and affect your business cash flow.

Develop a business continuity plan and create a resilient business with the help of the Get Ready - Disaster preparedness for business webpage.

As a pet owner, you are responsible for the safety and well-being of your pets. Your pet emergency kit should provide you with everything you need to care for your pets during a disaster event.

A well-stocked pet emergency kit will enable your pet to cope with disruption to essential services, power and water supplies. The kit should be regularly checked to ensure items are fresh and safe to use and should be kept in an easily accessible location.

Your emergency kit should cater for the unique needs of your pet, and should include:

  • A completed copy of the pet preparedness plan[202KB] to ensure you have important information including pet registration details and key telephone numbers at your fingertips
  • Up to two weeks of pet medications, medical and vaccination records and details of your preferred veterinarian
  • Sufficient food and bottled water for each animal for up to two weeks
  • A familiar pet blanket or bedding, toys and grooming equipment
  • A secure pet carrier, leash or harness to move your animals to safety
  • Consider your animal’s sanitation needs. You may need to pack spare newspaper, paper towels, disinfectant and rubbish bags
  • A current photograph of your pet.

Moving your pet to safety

If your pets are likely to be at risk, every effort should be made to take them to a safer location. By acting early, you can avoid any unnecessary danger and anxiety to you and your pet.

Tips to remember:

  • Secure your pet inside before an emergency event, so that they do not take flight or run away
  • Use a secure pet carrier/cage, leash or harness to move any animals to safety
  • Ensure all vaccinations remain current
  • Investigate if it is possible for your pet to stay in a safe environment with family or friends away from the emergency zone
  • If you are able to house your animal in a temporary foster home, ensure you include your pet’s emergency kit. This should include medical and feeding information, food, medicine and an appropriate lead, harness or pet carrier
  • Ensure your pets are properly identified. It is important registration tags and microchips contain current contact details
  • Have a current photograph to help identify you as the legal owner.

Leaving your pet at home

You should consider what you would do with your family pet if you are required to leave your home during a disaster event.

If your pets are likely to be at risk, every effort should be made to take them to a safer location. Animal boarding kennels, family and friends offer ideal refuge away from an emergency zone.

If it is not possible to take your pets with you, and you need to temporarily leave your pet at home, you should:

  • Try to leave your pets indoors. Rooms that are easily cleaned and that have small windows, like a bathroom or laundry, are ideal. Alternatively, you should try to leave your pets undercover, in a shed or covered pen with good ventilation
  • Avoid leaving pets in rooms with hazards such as large windows, hanging plants or large picture frames
  • Never leave your animals tied-up or chained
  • Never leave your animals outside without shelter, food and clean water and bedding
  • In case of flooding, position a heavy chair or crate to allow access to a higher refuge such as a bench-top, vanity or shelf
  • Ensure each animal has a supply of food and water in large, heavy bowls. A slow-dripping tap over a bath or sink can provide an ongoing supply of fresh water. You may also wish to leave the lid to the toilet bowl open as an alternative water source
  • Provide toilet litter for each animal
  • Ensure your animals can be properly and easily identified
  • Ensure you have the telephone numbers for your veterinarian and local animal welfare agencies included in your household emergency kit.

As a last resort, family pets may be brought to council’s emergency evacuation centres. If your family and pets are relocating to one of council’s emergency evacuation centres, it is essential you bring your pet emergency kit.

All animals must be securely restrained on a leash, in a harness or an animal carrier. Your pet may need to be relocated to suitable animal accommodation away from the emergency evacuation centre.

If you are able to house your animal in a temporary foster home, again take all the essentials. See the Get Ready - Plan your pet safety kit webpage

Trained assistance dogs

Trained assistance dogs are trained to perform specific physical tasks and behaviours to assist a person with a disability.

In all cases, trained assistance dogs will be allowed to stay in emergency shelters with their owners. Please remember to bring your Pet Emergency Kit and ensure your assistance dog is properly secured.

If your pet is not a dog or cat

For advice in planning for emergencies, contact specialised agencies such as:

You should contact them when you are planning for:

  • reptiles
  • livestock
    • pigs
    • fowls
    • goats
    • horses
    • cattle
    • sheep.

When it is time to evacuate, you will be told through the media or by other warning methods such as sirens, telephone calls using the emergency alert system. This includes an SMS message to your mobile or a voice message to your landline.

When SEWS warnings are issued you may be directed to:

Ensure everyone in your family knows how to stay informed.

Tune in

  • Local radio and TV stations have warnings, updates and community safety announcements.
  • You may receive emergency alert voice messages to your landline and/or text messages to your mobile telephone.
  • Emergency services may use sirens and loud-hailer announcements.
  • Emergency services personnel may door-knock your local area to pass on warnings.

Coast Alert

Get emergency alerts straight to your phone!

When severe weather is approaching on the Sunshine Coast, important emergency information and alerts are now available on your mobile device.

Download council’s free SCCApp to your smartphone and other mobile devices in the App Store or Google Play.

Log on

Listen out

  • The Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) – the siren sound used at the beginning of serious warnings on radio and television.
  • Pay careful attention to the message that follows SEWS and act immediately on the advice given.
  • Emergency alert voice messages may be sent to your landline and text messages to your mobile telephone.
  • Sirens and loud-hailer announcements may be used by emergency services.
  • Emergency services personnel may door-knock your local area to pass on warnings.


  • Start your emergency plan and have your emergency kit handy.
  • Act quickly on the authorities’ advice. Depending on the situation, you may be told to:
    • shelter in place within your own home
    • take voluntary evacuation measures by going to friends or family
    • go to an evacuation centre. If this is the case, information about evacuation centres will be published on this site.
  • Make sure everyone in your house is aware of the warning and advice provided.
  • Check on neighbours and friends who may need special assistance.
  • Take care that your drinking water is not contaminated.

Additional advice in the event of a chemical spill

Should a chemical spill (hazardous material accident) occur, you need to listen, log on and act on the disaster advice above. In addition:

  • If you witness or smell a hazardous materials release, call 000 as soon as safely possible.
  • Avoid the incident site. If you are caught outside during an incident, protect yourself by keeping at least a kilometre upstream, uphill, and upwind.
  • If you are caught in a motor vehicle, stop and find shelter in a building. If you must remain in your car, keep the car windows and vents closed. Turn off the air-conditioner.

If you shelter in place:

  • Close doors and windows and seal the room using:
    • plastic sheeting
    • duct tape
    • modelling clay
    • or other material in your emergency kit.
  • Remain sheltering in the room, tuning in to local radio, television or online, until you are given the all clear.
  • Wear gloves and clothing that covers limbs and feet. Avoid contact with:
    • spilled liquids
    • airborne mists and powders
    • condensed solids.
  • Do not eat food or drink water that may have been contaminated.

If you are warned by authorities that an explosion is possible, close all curtains and shades and stay away from windows.

More information

For more information on Bureau of Meteorology warnings phone:

Queensland Tropical Cyclone Warnings 1300 659 212
Queensland Land Weather and Flood Warnings 1300 659 219
Queensland Coastal Marine Warnings 1300 360 427
Australian Tsunami Threat Information 1300 878 6264 (1300 TSUNAMI)
Queensland General Warnings (call costs apply) 1900 969 922

Get ready Sunshine Coast

From the recent storms on the Sunshine Coast, it is evident that you can be left without power or cut off by flooded roads for long stretches of time. At least three days is how long you may be without help. So you need to get ready and be prepared.

You should keep either original or certified copies of important documents in your emergency kit. All across Queensland, everyone is encouraged to take small steps to get ready for what Queensland weather can bring.

Council supports Get Ready Queensland. This Queensland Government initiative offers advice in several languages on how to prepare for severe weather events.