Over recent years, emergencies in Australia have increased in both intensity and frequency. Whilst much of our recent attention has been focused on the occurrence and nature of bush fires, it is important that we also recognise the incidence and intensity of many other emergencies is increasing.
This increase in emergencies and the impacts that they have had has encouraged many of us to look for improved and tested methods in preparing for and reacting to emergencies. It is now more important than ever, that both families and individuals understand and generally prepare for all types of emergencies. This means that we all have a responsibility to:
- Know Your Risks - Understand the nature and impact of emergencies that may occur in the regions that you are living in or visiting.
- Plan Now For What You'll Do - Sit down with your family and plan what you will do if a disaster affects your area. Make important decisions such as when to leave, what to take and what to do with animals. Don't leave it to the last minute as disasters can happen with little or no warning. There are a range of personal emergency plans available, choose one that best suits your needs. Prepare an Emergency Kit.
- Get Your Home Ready - Annually maintain your home and surrounds in a manner that caters for all emergencies. Trim overhanging trees and branches and remove dead and dry vegetation from around the house. Clean out gutters and downpipes. Secure or put away loose items in your yard or balcony. Check the roof is in good repair and your smoke alarms are working. Does your home and contents insurance policy cover you for disasters and is it up to date?
- Be Aware - Find out how to prepare and what to do if there is a disaster in your area. Stay informed of key emergency messages.
- Look Out For Each Other - Share information with your family, friends, neighbours and those who may need assistance. Talk about your plans with family, friends and neighbours before an emergency happens. Everyone can help each other in many ways in a disaster.