Do you have an action plan set in place in case your home is affected by a flood? Like any emergency, it's essential to be prepared and learn how to protect yourself, your family, pets and property.
1. Find out if you’re in a flood area
Find out what floods have occurred where you are living. A good place to start is with your local council or state/territory emergency service office (SES).
Some councils have their own "Flood Plain Maps" that tell you the danger areas based on previous floods. Your local council or state/territory emergency service can inform you of local plans, warning systems and evacuation routes plus assist you in giving information on preparation for flooding.
As a guide, questions to ask the SES include:
- How high did they rise, and how quickly?
- How long did they last?
- Is there a local flood plan?
As a guide, questions to ask your local council include:
- Do I have to evacuate and where do I evacuate to?
- What flood advices will be given by local officials in addition to those given by the Bureau of Meteorology?
- Where is the catchment area in which rainfall will cause floods near my home?
2. Check the Bureau of Meteorology
Before the flood, take the time to learn how the Flood Warning System works. The Bureau of Meteorology(BOM) issues forecasts and warnings. In particular, the Bureau issues a Flood Watch if flood producing rain is expected to occur soon. When flash flooding is expected, a Severe Weather Warning is issued to alert to that possibility.
The Bureau of Meteorology uses the following flood terms. It is important to know what they mean.
Minor flooding: Causes inconvenience. Low-lying areas next to watercourses are inundated which may require the removal of stock and equipment. Minor roads may be closed and low-level bridges submerged.
Moderate flooding: In addition to the above, the evacuation of some houses may be required. Main traffic routes may be covered. The area of inundation is substantial in rural areas requiring the removal of stock.
Major flooding: In addition to the above, extensive rural areas and/or urban areas are inundated. Properties and towns are likely to be isolated and major traffic routes likely to be closed. Evacuation of people from flood affected areas may be required. Local Flooding: Used where intense rainfall could be expected to cause high runoff in limited areas local to the rainfall, but not necessarily leading to significant rises in main streams.
Flash Flooding: Flooding occurring in less than 6 hours of rain, usually the result of intense local rain and characterised by rapid rises in water levels. They are difficult to predict accurately and give little time for effective preventive action.
4. Flood action plan
If your home is located in an area with a history of flooding, you should prepare a flood action plan which will include where you will evacuate to should the need arise. Your local council will be able to provide information on the location of evacuation centres in your area.
It is a good idea to practice your evacuation as a family to ensure you are all familiar with the route.
5. Emergency phone numbers and kit
Keep a list of emergency phone numbers near the phone. These contact numbers may include but are not limited to: your local state/territory emergency service office, police, ambulance, hospital and essential services, for example, gas and electricity.
It’s a good idea to have a basic kit ready at all times. This kit should include:
- First-aid supplies
- Battery operated portable radio
- Spare batteries for radio and torch