Precautions to take

In an emergency situation it might be safest to remain where you are, whether that's at home, work, school or interstate. Being apart from loved ones during such a stressful time will be difficult. You should discuss in advance how you would stay in contact, if you were separated. Sending SMS messages are cost effective and won't cause network congestion.

Don't panic if you can't locate someone. If you've discussed emergencies with them, they're sure to follow that advice. For example, a child on their way home from school, will seek appropriate shelter in the care of a responsible adult, in a neighbourhood 'safe house'.

Consider the location of your place of work or school in relation to your home. Are there rivers or creeks that might flood and prevent you from returning home?

Don't drive through flooded roads. If you can't see the white line markings that run along the centre of the road then the water is too deep to see how the deep the water is or whether the road is washed out. You cannot know how fast, how deep and how the situation might change.

You might decide, under duress, to take a risk in order to collect a family member or get to your family at home. The dangers associated with getting trapped in your car in floodwaters, far outweighs any other responsibilities. So make the necessary phone calls to make alternate plans.

During an emergency, you have to rely on those responsible for family members to take good care and keep them safe. But don't assume others are as prepared as you might expect. Talk to school, kindergarten or day care staff about what preparations have been made.

If you're not confident that their emergency plans are adequate, meet with staff and make suggestions based on your research and knowledge. Your help and advice could save a life. Knowing the emergency plans of community establishments you and your family frequent will better assist you in developing your own preparedness plan.

Ensure someone in your household has a current first aid certificate.

In any emergency, you or a family member may be cut, burned, or suffer other injuries. Keep essential first aid supplies at home and in your vehicle, so you are prepared to help when someone is hurt.

To check if a person is conscious ask, 'Are you OK?' (use the person's name if you know it), 'Squeeze my hand ----; now let it go'.

Grasp and squeeze the person's shoulders firmly. If there is no response or you have concerns about the person's well being, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. You will receive advice on how to care for the person while the ambulance is on its way.

If someone is injured, six key steps will help keep everyone at the scene as safe as possible until professional help arrives.

  1. Make sure the situation is safe; for example, keep clear of power lines, gas, smoke, and fire.
  2. If the injured person is unconscious and not responding, or if the incident has not otherwise been reported, call 000 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
  3. If the person is not breathing, remove any blockage to the airway. If you (or any bystander) have the necessary skills, commence CPR.
  4. Attend to severe bleeding or shock, and then care for injuries to muscles, bones, and joints. Use gloves where available.
  5. Monitor the injured person's condition while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
  6. Help the person rest in the most comfortable position and give reassurance.