What to do During a Disaster or Emergency

When disaster strikes you need to follow the advice of authorities on staying put or evacuating and follow your emergency plan.

What to do During a Disaster or Emergency

In the event of a disaster or emergency, you need to:

  • stay calm
  • follow your prepared emergency plans
  • tune into a local ABC or commercial radio station to stay informed
  • follow instructions from authorities promptly.

Here are some handy rules of thumb to use for certain types of emergencies:

  • Cyclone/storm tide – run from water – 'Shelter in place' from wind
  • Riverine flooding – stay with friends in high places
  • Bushfire – if you are going to leave, leave early
  • Hazardous material accident – stay upwind or stay inside
  • Tsunami – go inland one kilometre or go up ten metres
  • Dam release – get out and move to higher ground quickly.

Make sure you remember to:

  • never enter flood waters. This means on foot, rubber dingy, body board or in your vehicle

If it’s flooded – forget it. Flood waters include roads, causeways and creeks, etc. - check weather updates and if local roads are closed - check on neighbours and people who may need your assistance - think about the needs of your animals (pets) and where you will take them - check that your drinking water is not contaminated - ensure your food safety.

Visit the Queensland Health website for further information on community health during disasters.


Evacuation is the planned movement of people from an unsafe or potentially unsafe location to a safer location. They will be returned once the emergency is passed.

When evacuations are necessary, you will be told through the media or by other warning methods. These include:

  • sirens
  • telephone calls using the emergency alert system
  • an SMS message to your mobile
  • a voice message to your landline within a set geographic area.

Types of evacuation

  • Self-evacuation: No formal authority required. You can choose to self evacuate at any time if you don’t feel safe. Please let someone know that you are evacuating and where you are going
  • Voluntary evacuation: The Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) will implement this in consultation with the District Disaster Coordinator
  • Directed evacuation: You are ordered to 'evacuate now' by the District Disaster Coordinator in consultation with the LDMG. At this stage council will advise what evacuation centres will be opened. A disaster will have been 'declared' before directed evacuation occurs.

Local evacuation procedures

Council is working closely with Sunshine Coast communities to produce local evacuation procedures for their areas. This will assist them to respond when emergencies occur that require evacuation.

Note: Local evacuation procedures will be started by the Local Disaster Coordinator (LDC) if the local community need to be moved to a safer location.

National Registration and Enquiry Service - Register.Find.Reunite.

During an emergency, 'Register.Find.Reunite.' registers evacuated people and assists in reconnecting them with concerned family and friends.

Note: Register.Find.Reunite is launched during an active emergency situation only.

To register or enquire after loved ones during an emergency please visit the Register.Find.Reunite. website.

Shelter in Place

One of the instructions you may be given in a cyclone or an emergency is to 'shelter in place'.

Stay informed

Find links to relevant websites for a wide range of weather warnings and information and get to know the standard emergency warning system.

Evacuate Now

‘Evacuate now’ means that it is likely that the storm tide, river flooding or tsunami will impact and an evacuation has been ordered.