Floods

The flooding of rivers following heavy rainfall is the most common form of flooding in Australia. Low lying coastal areas may also flood during and after a cyclone due to storm surge from the ocean and heavy rain.

Most cyclone related deaths are from drowning in a storm surge or flood.

If your home is near a waterway or on low lying land it could be flooded, even if you have never seen floodwaters there. It does not have to be raining in your area for flooding to occur.

You may become stranded for many days until the water subsides and some remote areas can be isolated for months by floods.

If your property could be isolated, paint the name on the roof to assist those trying to help you.

If flooding / storm surge is likely – Get Ready

  • Monitor radio, television and internet for flood/storm surge advice.
  • Prepare to relocate early.
  • Organise an emergency kit with a portable battery operated radio, torch, spare batteries, first aid kit and food and water for four days.
  • Disconnect all electrical appliances.
  • Raise furniture, clothing and valuables on to beds, tables and into roof space.
  • Empty contents of your refrigerator and freezer into containers and leave doors open.
  • Put fuel in your vehicle.
  • Secure dangerous objects and relocate vehicles, outdoor equipment, waste containers, chemicals and poisons safely.
  • Whether you relocate or stay, place bags of sand in toilets and over laundry/bathroom drains to prevent sewage backflow.
  • Pack a relocation kit including warm cloths, valuables, important papers and photos in water proof bags to be taken with your emergency kit.
  • Prepare pet food or stockfeed.
  • Check on your neighbours to see if they need help.

If you need to relocate – Take Action

  • Relocate before your home is inundated if it is safe to move around outside.
  • Lock your home and take the recommended relocation routes for your area.
  • If you do leave, tell emergency services personnel and your neighbours.
  • Take your emergency kit and relocation kit with you.
  • Turn off the electricity, gas and water.
  • Go to your nearest welfare centre.
  • Ensure pets and animals are safe (most welfare centres do not accept pets but do accept guide dogs).

If you are isolated

  • Call the SES emergency assistance on 132 500. Emergency services will coordinate the supply of essential items to isolated communities and properties.
  • If you must travel during a flood
  • Listen to your radio for information, use a recommended route and do not hurry.
  • Be aware that roads may be flooded and impassable, obey road closure signs and check road conditions on 138 138.
  • Tell someone about your travel plans before you go.
  • Take your emergency kit and relocation kit.
  • Do not drive into water of unknown depth and current.

After flooding – Be Careful

  • Listen to your radio for information and follow advice from authorities.
  • Do not return home until authorities advise it is safe to do so.
  • If you relocated from your home wait for advice before you go back. If returning, take the roads recommended by authorities and do not hurry.
  • If you need to go outside be careful because power lines could be down and there may be fallen trees, broken water and sewage lines, loose roof sheeting and other material.
  • Check to see if your neighbours are safe.
  • Check whereabouts of pets and animals.
  • Start cleaning up around your home - stack loose material clear of water meters, valves and telephone lines.
  • Use a torch when entering a building - never use matches, cigarette lighters or naked flames due to the potential of flammable gas.
  • Take photographs as soon as possible for insurance purposes.
  • Keep electricity and all appliances turned off until checked by an electrician.
  • Have gas appliances inspected and cleaned before use.
  • Throw away all food or medication that may be contaminated through contact with floodwater.
  • Boil all drinking water until supplies have been declared safe by authorities.
  • Keep electricity and all appliances turned off until checked by an electrician.
  • Be aware that snakes and animals may enter your home during a flood.