Prepare your family

Getting prepared is the first important step in becoming more resilient. Involve the whole household when preparing your Harden Up Plan. You can assess your preparedness progress and share your Harden Up Plan with family and friends on Facebook, which will encourage others to get involved.

Your Household Emergency Plan enables you and your household to plan ahead so you know what to do, where to go, how to keep in touch with each other, and how to contact emergency services, if required. Involve all household members when you develop your emergency plan, to ensure everyone understands the risks and appropriate actions to take in an emergency.

Print a copy of the Emergency Plan with your agreed plans and strategies for each of these issues. Once completed, make extra copies of your Emergency Plan for each household member, your family, friends, neighbours and the two emergency contacts listed on your plan.

Record evacuation details on you Emergency Plan and display your completed plan on your fridge or notice board. Be sure to place a copy of your Emergency Plan in your Emergency Kit.

To ensure that all family members are familiar with your Household Emergency Plan, you should take everyone through your plan on a regular basis, as often as every three months. Elderly people and children will really benefit from repeated discussions.

Choose a convenient time when all family members are available and likely to apply their full attention. Ask questions to determine whether each person understands the plan. Be aware that elderly people and children could nod in agreement, without understanding fully.

Encourage everyone to contribute suggestions and ask questions, so that everyone feels involved, confident, and resilient. As children grow older they will understand more and can take on greater responsibility, so be sure to encourage them to do so.

On the other hand, older members of your family might develop significant concern about how they'll cope in a dangerous situation, so be patient and allow them to express any concerns they might have about the Emergency Plan. Encourage them to talk about their experiences during natural disasters, so that other family members might benefit. Talking about those memories could also alleviate their concern.

Being prepared for an emergency can save lives, and help people to recover and get back up on their feet more quickly. The Australian Red Cross Emergency REDiPlan assists people to be better prepared, better connected to each other, and more resilient when emergencies happen. Four simple steps will help you to prepare - be informed; make a plan; get an emergency kit; and know your neighbours.

The Bureau of Meteorology provides warnings of dangerous weather to the Australian community, with the aim of minimising injury and damage. This information is transmitted to authorities such as Police, Emergency Management Queensland, State Emergency Service (SES), and to radio and television stations.

Tune to your local ABC radio station for warnings and advice. Details of your local ABC radio frequency and local web-page can be obtained from

Familiarise and your household with the alert sound - Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) - used to alert Queenslanders when disasters loom or a major emergency happens.

Emergency Alert is the national telephone based emergency warning system that sends messages via landlines based on the location of the handset and mobile phones based on an individual's billing address.

The system provides emergency service organisations with another way to warn communities in the event of an emergency such as bushfire and extreme weather events. You don't have to sign up for this service.

But don't simply rely on receiving a message; individuals and communities must still prepare themselves in case of an emergency.

Details of any current alerts for Queensland are available through the Queensland's Disaster Management Services website. Alternatively, visit the National Emergency Alert web site for Frequently Asked Questions about Emergency Alert telephone messaging.

Parents who provide their children with mobile phones will need to explain to their child what to do if they receive a message. If a child receives a telephone warning when they are at school, the child must follow the emergency management arrangements currently in place at their school. 

Telephone-based emergency warnings do not replace existing workplace emergency arrangements. Individuals must follow current emergency management arrangements in place at their workplace.

Early Warning Network - Brisbane and Townsville City Councils are partners and residents in those areas can register free for early warnings of severe weather approaching the area.

The Australian Early Warning Network (EWN) provides emergency alerts covering everything from tsunamis through to severe weather. EWN monitors and tracks potentially dangerous weather systems and uses the network to alert people directly in the path of an event such as a thunderstorm with the potential for hail, flash flooding or damaging winds.