Plan for a cyclone emergency - ABC Emergency (2024)

From November to April, cyclones are a part of life for people in northern Australia and have the potential to threaten lives and cause large-scale destruction.In the 2022-23 cyclone season, the Bureau of Meteorologyhas predicted that it is likely there could be an above-average number of tropical cyclones this season.

  • Before a cyclone
  • During a cyclone
  • After a cyclone


Before a cyclone

Before cyclone season, prepare your home and check your cyclone plan:

Prepare and/or check your cyclone plan and emergency kit.

A plan is vital because when a cyclone happens, there won't be time to think. Everyone in the household needs to know what to do.

You will have a better chance of surviving if everyone in the family agrees on a plan before cyclone season.

Make sure you have a battery-powered radio as part of your emergency kit, in case of power failure and mobile networks going down.

If your home is in a low-lying area, decide where will you and your family will go in case of storm surge.


  • Make sure your household is familiar with the Standard Emergency Warning Signalor SEWS (this is what it sounds like), which is generally broadcast when a cyclone is 12 hours or less away
  • Decide how you will look after your pets and animals and what you will do if you have to leave them behind
  • Animals are generally not allowed to go with you to a temporary evacuation shelter, so you'll need to decide where they'll shelter during the cyclone
  • Think about what items your pets may need and include them in your emergency kit

If an official watch or warning is issued, you should:

  • Stay tuned to your local ABC Radio station on a battery-powered radio and check the ABC Emergency Twitter and Facebook pages regularly for instructions and updates on the cyclone, as its path can change quickly
  • Familiarise yourself with some of the facts behind tropical cyclones through the Bureau of Meteorology.
  • Check that your emergency survival kit is complete and that you have it on hand
  • Fill your vehicles' fuel tanks, and any jerry cans with fuel
  • Check on your neighbours, and ask if they know a cyclone watch/warning has been issued
  • Clear your property of all loose items and bring outdoor furniture, children's toys, and gardening equipment inside or under cover
  • Move vehicles, bicycles, and personal mobility devices under cover. Ensure your handbrake is left on and the vehicle is in gear
  • Fill buckets and bathtub with water (in case your water supply gets cut off). Make sure you have enough water purification tablets or other water purification options. It is recommended you have ready 10 litres of water per person
  • If your windows are fitted with shutters, make sure they are closed securely. If not, tape your windows in a criss-crossing fashion using strong packing tape (this will hold broken glass in place)
  • Close all doors, and draw the curtains
  • Bring children and pets indoors and remain inside until told otherwise
  • If you or a family member has a disability you may be more susceptible to the impacts of a cyclone
  • When a cyclone warning is issued consider moving with your emergency kit and anything you need to manage your health or disability
  • Let friends and family know where you are


During a cyclone

If you shelter at home:

  • Turn off all electricity, gas and water, and unplug all appliances
  • Keep your emergency kitclose by
  • Bring your family into the strongest part of the house, and ensure you shelter well away from windows
  • Keep listening to the radio for cyclone updates
  • If the building begins to break up, shelter under a strong table, bench or heavy mattress.Cover yourself with rugs and blankets, or hold onto a solid fixture
  • Beware the calm eye of the cyclone; stay inside until you are told it is safe to go outside
  • The eye may have light winds and fine weather, or severe gusts of wind may continue
  • The eye is surrounded by a dense ring of cloud known as the eye wall, which is the most dangerous part of the cyclone with the strongest winds and heaviest rainfall
  • Provide comfort and reassurance to children and pets

When an official evacuation order is issued:

  • Act immediately. You and your family should follow directions,seek a public shelter, or stay with friends/family further inland or on higher ground
  • Check with your neighbours that they have received the updated information
  • Turn off all electricity, gas and water, andunplug all appliances
  • Lock your doors and ensure all windows are closed
  • Make sure everyone in your household is wearing strong shoes and suitable clothing
  • Take your emergency survival kit. Followyour evacuation plan
  • If you are evacuating to a shelter, make sure to take bedding and books, games or other activities for children
  • Visiting from out of town? The local council or emergency agency will let you know your best options for evacuation
  • If you cannot take animalswith you, make sure they are left in a safe place indoors (garage, laundry, etc). Leave them with food and water. Do not tie them up
  • Comfort and reassure children
  • If you are driving when a cyclone hits, immediately park in an area that is clear of trees, powerlines and water courses. Put your handbrake on and stay inside your car
  • Stay calm. Keep listening to your local ABC Radio station,listen online or via the ABC listen app, and/or check ABC Emergency's Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates and instructions
  • Be aware your mobile phone may not work if mobile networks are down
  • If safe to do so, contact your ABC Local Radio station to share what you can see. Firsthand and reliable knowledge about what's going on will help the rest of the community. Keep our phone number handy
  • Stay inside until the all clear is given

Plan for a cyclone emergency - ABC Emergency (1)

After a cyclone

  • The time immediately after a cyclone is often just as dangerous as the initial event itself
  • Deaths and injuries can happen when people go exploring and sightseeing, and when proper precautions are not taken
  • Remember, stay inside until the all clear is given

Once the cyclone has passed:

  • Listen to your radio and remain indoors until an official all clear has been given by the authorities
  • An official all clear is given when dangers caused by wind and storm surges have passed, but you need still need to take care
  • If you had to evacuate, don't return home until you are advised it is safe to do so
  • Cyclones canbring heavy rain and widespread flooding to your region. Never drive, ride or walk through floodwaters
  • Do not go sightseeing or exploring damaged buildings
  • Check on your neighbours, family and friends
  • Check the whereabouts of pets and animals
  • Boil or purify drinking water until supplies are declared safe.
  • Stay away from any damaged powerlines, fallen trees and floodwater
  • Be wary ofany possible gasleaks
  • Avoid making any unnecessary phone calls. Phone networks may be damaged or have reduced capacity

If your home has become uninhabitable, contact your local council and ask where you can get help and assistance.

Keep electricity and appliances turned off until checked by an electrician. If you have solar panels that are damaged, do not turn on your power supply. Have gas appliances inspected before use.

In case you become separated from loved ones during an emergency, the Red Cross manages Register.Find.Reunite, a national registration and enquiry service. When the service is activated, people can register through the Red Cross website, or in person at an evacuation or relief centre.You can also use the website if you are unable to contact a loved one who may have been affected.

Stay tuned to your local ABC Radio station, listen online or via the ABC listen app, and/or check ABC Emergency's Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates and instructions.

Plan for a cyclone emergency - ABC Emergency (2)

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Plan for a cyclone emergency - ABC Emergency (2024)


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