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How to be Prepared

Be prepared for the Disaster Season

Living in the tropics carries with it the responsibility of always being prepared for disasters such as floods, tropical storms and cyclones.

Get Ready Queensland promote the importance of preparation and encourage residents to prepare for natural disasters and emergencies. Click here to visit the Get Ready Queensland website for more detailed information. 

Understand your Risk

The first step in being prepared is to understand your risk. Natural disasters affect Queenslanders more than anyone else in Australia, and everyone's disaster risk is different.

To prepare your home or business, you need to know what disasters you are most likely to see, and what time of the year they might happen. Then, think about what impact the disaster could have on you, your family and your property.

Cyclones, storms and floods are a part of life in Hinchinbrook. But, we should remember that other potential disasters such as bushfire, storm surge, heatwave and earthquake could also impact our district.

The good thing is, there's plenty of information available to help you prepare for any of these potential disasters. After reading through the information available on Council's website and Get Ready Queensland's Understand your Risk page, sit down with everyone in your household to talk about what you have learned.

Because North Queenslanders help their mates, be sure to check in with new neighbours to make sure they know what to expect!

Here are some 3D disaster animations developed by Get Ready Queensland in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology. These hyper-realistic videos place viewers at the centre of Queensland’s (and Hinchinbrook's) most frequent natural disasters - flooding and tropical cyclones - highlighting the risks of extreme weather.



Have a plan

The second step in disaster preparedness is to have a household emergency and evacuation plan so that everyone in your household knows exactly what to do if the worst happens.

To print a copy or to complete your plan online, click here to visit 'Step 2: Prepare a household emergency plan' on the Get Ready Queensland website.

You don't have to use a special document to make your plan - if you prefer to write it on a big sheet of paper with colourful pictures, that's fine too!! The most important thing is that everyone in your household knows about it.

Prepare your property

Preparing in advance saves time and reduces the number of things you have to do when a disaster is about to strike. Use the following checklists to help you make sure that everything is ready.


An essential part of preparing your home includes the following:

  • Clean up the yard. Clear away all loose material, as it could blow about and possible cause injury or damage; 
  • Trim trees and over hanging branches;
  • Keep your roof in good condition and check it regularly;
  • Identify how and where to turn off the mains supply for water, power and gas; 
  • Remove debris from gutters;
  • Check and fix loose fittings, such as railings;
  • Check windows and install shutters if possible;
  • Tie down sheds or other small structures not permanently fixed. Secure caravans, boats and vehicles or tie them together or to strong structures; 
  • Ensure your home and contents insurance is current and covers your assets adequately;
  • Know your storm tide evacuation zone and evacuation routes; and
  • Check on neighbours, especially if elderly or recent arrivals. 

Visit Council's Waste Facilities page for opening hours and other details. 

  • Ensure your car insurance is current and that it covers your asset adequately;
  • When severe weather warnings are issued, park vehicles under cover, away from trees, power lines and waterways; and
  • Ensure your car is fully fuelled.

It's important to consider what will happen to our pets in the event of a natural disaster. In emergency situations, pets are often the most vulnerable member of the family. Make sure you plan for the following to keep your pets safe:

  • Secure animals before an emergency event, or use a secure pet carrier/cage/leash if you are transporting them;
  • Ensure all vaccinations are current;
  • Make sure your pet can be identified - tag and microchip pets where possible;
  • If evacuating with your pet, make sure you have their medications, food, water, bedding, leash, toys and consider their sanitation needs (Note: domestic pets and other animals are not permitted in Public Cyclone Shelters or Places of Refuge, with the exception of registered assistance animals); and
  • Have a current photo of each of your pets.

Maritime Safety Queensland recommends that mariners plan, prepare and follow advice when it comes to severe weather season. Click here to visit the Maritime Safety Queensland website.

  • Get a copy of the Extreme Weather Event Contingency Plan for your area and read it;
  • Explore your suggested shelter area or inlet before severe weather season starts;
  • Update your contact details with the authorities;
  • Ensure your boat insurance is current and covers your asset adequately;
  • Organise options to move your boat if you will be away during severe weather season;
  • Keep a record of emergency telephone numbers handy (e.g. Regional Harbour Master, Volunteer Marine Rescue organisations, Queensland Police Service);
  • Know when and where your vessel needs to be during an evacuation;
  • Use suitable lines to secure your boat. Double up on mooring lines and check they are in good condition and are the right size and length;
  • Secure loose articles below deck;
  • Secure all hatches;
  • Check your boat is watertight;
  • Reduce wind loading and remove furled sails and covers, bimini tops and any clears; and
  • Check that all bilge pumps work and that all self draining holes are clear.

Queensland is the most natural disaster impacted state in Australia, so it is important to be aware of the different weather conditions wherever you travel during your caravan holiday. Even while you're not travelling, your home on wheels may still be at risk during extreme weather. When a severe weather warning or bushfire alert is issued, take the following precautionary measures to help keep your caravan safe, or at least limit its damage.

  • Park facing the wind, with the narrow end facing the direction of expected wind. Park out of the way of trees and branches that may fall and be very mindful of any areas that may flood;
  • Chock the wheels and apply the brakes;
  • Take your awning down as soon as possible;
  • Tie down your caravan securely. If there are anchor points, you should tie down your chassis with either short lengths of strong chain and turnbuckles, or sound rope of at least 9.5mm diameter. If there are no anchor points, dig holes under your caravan wheels to increase wind resistance, and sink posts of angle iron at the tyre 'corners'. If you are able to anchor nylon rope or steel cable at ground level, secure this to your caravan chassis;
  • Tie down the roof of your caravan - the most effective roof tie-down is a strong net firmly fixed at ground level and passing over the full length of the caravan;
  • Store all your loose equipment inside the caravan, including your annex, bikes, chairs and household items;
  • Turn off all gas and electricity supplies. In addition, if storm surge or flood warnings are issued, unplug all electrical devices and place them on a higher level rather than the floor;
  • Seek shelter - even if your caravan is securely tied down, you should seek other shelter when warned of approaching high winds; and
  • Be prepared for bushfires and wildfires. Install a smoke and carbon monoxide detector in your rig for an added safety measure, and keep a fire extinguisher near the door inside the caravan.

Pack supplies

The next step to Get Ready is to pack your emergency and evacuation kits. The Hinchinbrook Shire Council ‘Emergency Kit’ and 'Emergency Pantry List' provide important information and advice on how to ensure your household has an adequate supply of food, water and essential items to cope with a prolonged emergency situation. They are available to download by clicking on the links below each image.

It is important to note some changes to the essential items required due to the 'new normal' as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Preparing for emergencies ensures that you and your family can manage if affected by a cyclone or flood – it’s the smart thing to do! 

Click here to download Council's Emergency Kit Checklist

Fact Sheets

The following fact sheets will assist you in preparing for a disaster or emergency event.

To view the information in languages other than English, click here to visit the Queensland Government Disasters and Emergencies website.

Disaster Ready Game

Click on the button below to play the Disaster Ready Game.

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