Create a household emergency plan
A household emergency plan will help protect what matters most - you, your loved ones and your pets. It includes knowing the best way to leave your home in an emergency, where to meet and how to contact one another if separated.
- List the household members and their contact number
- Decide where you will meet following an emergency situation List the name and contact details for someone outside the area who you can all check in with if you can't meet up
- Draw a plan of the house showing escape routes and places you can shelter during a storm or earthquake
- Detail how to turn off water, electricity and gas if required
Congratulations! You have an emergency plan for your house.
Keep it in a place where it is visible to all household members.
Assemble and maintain emergency items
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a preparedness pro, gathering your emergency supplies is easy. A good rule of thumb is to have supplies for about three days. You’ll be surprised at how much you already have.
Many emergency or disaster situations could leave you and your loved ones stranded at home for days. Keep a supply of the following items in your house:
- First aid kit
- Torch and radio
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Non-perishable (canned or dried) food
- Fire extinguisher
- Can opener
- Wind and waterproof clothing, strong outdoor shoes and sunhat
- Face and dust masks
- Emergency toilet provisions
- Primus or gas barbeque to cook on
- Pet supplies
- Food, formula, and drinks for babies and small children
Following a disaster, you may need to leave your home with no warning and you may not be able to return. It is useful to know what essential documents and personal items you will need to take with you and where to find them quickly:
- Documentation and identification such as insurance policies, passports, drivers licenses, mortgage documents
- Mobility aids and hearing aids with spare batteries
- Extra supplies of any special dietary requirements
- Pet supplies
- Precious family photos
If you would like to be even more prepared check out the Go a step further section below.
In an emergency or disaster situation, you'll need to know how to get information and how to connect with people around you in your community. Now is a good time so you'll be ready if a disaster situation occurs.
Connect with your local Civil Defence
- Follow Civil Defence on Facebook and Twitter
- Learn what radio stations Civil Defence will broadcast through in your area in a disaster situation
Connect with your neighbours
Share contact details with your neighbours so you can contact one another if an emergency occurs
- Tell your neighbours about your emergency plan and ask about their plans
- Find out who amongst your neighbours may be able to help you or may need your help in a disaster
- Contact Neighbourhood Support to find out if a network exists in your neighbourhood
Connect with your community
- Create a network with at least three other people where you all let each other know that a Civil Defence alert is issued
- Join a local online community through sites like Facebook or Twitter. If one doesn't exist for your area, consider creating one
- Check out the community section for more information
Go a step further
Prepare your home
You can help reduce the effects of a disaster on you and your property by taking the following actions:
- Securing items of furniture to the floor or wall
- Store loose items (dinnerware, crockery, and kitchenware) securely
- Removing or securing objects that may fall and cause damage such as wardrobes, bookcases, appliances or ornaments
- Store household products and chemicals safely to reduce risk of spillage
- Get a builder to check the structural soundness of your home
- If you see signs of ground movement get the grounds checked by a civil engineer
When the power goes out remember - Fridge first
Plan to use fresh food first then refrigerated and frozen foods. Use tinned and dry foods last
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
How do you know if it is safe to eat? Once food reaches the temperature of 5 degrees Celsius or above for more than 2 hours it greatly increases the risk of growth by microorganisms that can cause illness. Do not use frozen food that has thawed or refrigerated food that has warmed up. The only exceptions to this are butter/margarine, hard cheeses, raw eggs (still in eggshells), fruit and vegetables. The rule of thumb is “if in doubt, throw it out”.
Plan for your pets
Pets are members of our families too so don't forget to prepare for them. Here are some tips to ensure you'll be able to look after your pets during an emergency.
- Arrange for a neighbour to check on your pets in case an emergency situation occurs when you are not home
- Keep pet tags up to date
- Consider having your pets microchipped, which will make it easier to trace them if they go missing
- Include your pets in your emergency plan. Pet supplies to keep in your Getaway Kit could include leashes, food, and safe drinking water for at least three days.
- Blankets and carry cases with contact details attached