Skip to main content

Be ready for an emergency evacuation

Advice on how you can prepare to evacuate and what you can expect.

Stay safe, connected and informed during natural disasters by monitoring local weather warnings and advice from emergency services.

In storms, fires and floods, your phone, internet, or power may go down, so it's a good idea to use a portable radio too. Listen to your local ABC radio for updates and advice.

If you’re concerned about your safety, don’t wait to be told to evacuate, prepare and leave early. 

Check that your route is clear before evacuating, and never drive, ride or walk through fire or flood waters.

COVID-19 restrictions

Under COVID-19 restrictions, if you are given advice to leave early or evacuate, the best option is to stay with friends or family in a safe location. 

Before an evacuation

Things can change quickly in a disaster event.

Here are the best ways to stay informed:

Remember to stay in touch with family, friends and neighbours and share important updates about where you are with them. 

 

Deciding to evacuate

In the event of a fire, flood or other disaster it may be hard to think clearly. Staying informed can help you make better decisions if you need to evacuate.

If you’re concerned about your safety, don’t wait to be told to evacuate, prepare and leave early. 
 

How will you know if you need to evacuate? 

  • The best way to know if you need to leave is to monitor your local ABC radio station, television broadcasts, emergency service updates and weather warnings. Remember, if mobile or power networks are down, a battery-operated radio and radio broadcasts may be your primary source of information.
  • You may be told to evacuate by text message, phone call to your landline, someone at your door, or a warning siren.  
  • You may not receive notice to evacuate as disasters can happen quickly or networks may be down. Stay aware and informed by monitoring the channels.
  • Leaving early is always the best option. Remember to check the roads for closures before you leave.


If you are told to evacuate:

  • Follow the instructions to leave immediately, and grab your emergency kit.
  • Assist household members who need extra help evacuating.
     

Leaving early

If you’re concerned about your safety in any way, don’t wait to be told to evacuate, prepare and leave early.

  • Grab your emergency kit - with essential household items for about 3-7 days.
  • Assist vulnerable or frail family or neighbours who may need extra help.
  • If you have animals, pack a kit for them and a carrier to transport them in.
  • Prepare your home - if there's time before you leave: turn off the power, gas, water, and lock doors and windows.
  • Check evacuation routes are open via the Live Traffic website or app.
  • Advise family, friends or neighbours of your decision to leave and where you plan to evacuate to.

     

Under COVID-19 restrictions, if you are given advice to leave early or evacuate:

  • the best option is to stay with friends or family in a safe location. 
  • or if possible, arrange to stay at rented accommodation in a safe location.

Make your way there, taking advice on accessible evacuation routes via the Live Traffic website or app

Once you are no longer in danger let loved ones know you are safe and register yourself as safe at Register.Find.Reunite, via the Australian Red Cross website
 

Every household is different, make a list of the things that you would need to take if you had to leave your home.

As a guide for how much to pack, think about what you will need if you are away for three days.

You can pack things like:

  • Water and food
  • Mobile phone and portable charger
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Spare clothes, school uniforms and blankets
  • Keys, cash and credit cards
  • Pet food, bowl and medication
  • Radio operated on batteries, for updates in case there's no phone service
  • Torch with batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Toiletry supplies
  • Mask and hand sanitiser

You can also pack important paper documents too:

  • Licences, birth certificates, passports
  • Home and medical insurance policies
  • Write contact numbers on paper: for friends, family, neighbours, and emergency services
  • Photos 
     

Children and teenagers can assist in planning your evacuation. Help them understand what is going to happen and where they will go.  

Children can help pack for an evacuation. Give them a bag and ask them to pack it with special items just for them. 

Plan and pack for the needs of infants and younger children for a 3-7 day period.  

 

Plan ahead to evacuate early, if you, or a member of your household or neighbour, is less mobile, has a disability, or needs extra support to adjust to the changing and unpredictable circumstances of an emergency.  

Leaving early is always the best option. If you're less mobile or have a disability, talk with people you trust to plan how they can help you with evacuation. If you have a friend or neighbour who needs assistance, make sure you include them in your plans and evacuate early.

Consider the following:

  • Accessibility of the safe place you plan to evacuate to

  • Personal care assistance and where you will best access this 

Pack or plan to have the following: 

  • Medications along with medical contacts and documentation 

  • Mobility aids 

  • Items that will comfort and help reduce stress 

  • The needs of companion animals or guide dogs
     

Pets should go with you if you evacuate to keep them safe. A known, planned evacuation destination with family or friends is ideal and evacuation centres, where established, are open to pets. 


What to pack for your pets

Decide the essential things your pet will need for 3-7 days. You may not be able to get home for a while. 

  • Food and treats 

  • Bowls/buckets/tubs 

  • Any medicines 

  • Toys 

  • Bedding 

  • Identification tags 

  • Photo with the family or owner 

  • Toileting requirements 

  • Registration and vaccination papers 
     

How you will contain and transport your pets 

Secure your pets so they are safe while you get ready and close by so you can leave quickly. Check you have the means to transport your pets and contain them at your evacuation destination.  

  • Crate, carrier, cage or similar 

  • Lead or harness 

  • Trailer or float 

  • Friend's car 

  • Public transport 


Planning for large animals or livestock

Plan to manage large animals, like horses, and livestock in advance of an evacuation.  

For animal information or assistance go to NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Local Land Services

 

Following an evacuation order

If you need to evacuate, the best option is to stay with friends and family. Arrange to stay with friends or family if everyone is free from respiratory illness and not in a higher-risk category for COVID-19. 

You can also choose to make a hotel accommodation booking. This will minimise potential exposure and may be safer for higher-risk individuals.

People showing symptoms of COVID-19, or people who have been told by NSW Health that they must self-isolate should not attend an evacuation centre. 

 

Under COVID-19 restrictions, the best option is to stay with friends and family if you need to evacuate.

If an evacuation centre is open, the location will be communicated by the relevant emergency service.  

For an evacuation centre in a: 

Evacuation centres are a temporary safe place where you can access immediate disaster assistance. 

Under COVID-19 restrictions, the best option is to stay with friends and family if you need to evacuate.

In the event of an evacuation centre opening, COVID-safe measures will be in place for your safety and the volunteers and staff helping you. 

Arriving at an evacuation centre 

You will be welcomed into the evacuation centre and asked questions to ensure you are offered the right supports. Evacuation centres are staffed by volunteers and paid staff from many different agencies. All are there to help you.  

Registering you and your family as safe 

You will be asked to register yourself as safe. Volunteers may take your details or you may be requested to register online at Register.Find.Reunite, via the Australian Red Cross website

You may also be asked to share details to allow for immediate financial or housing assistance. 

Information and advice 

Emergency responders will give regular updates to evacuation centre attendees on the state of the response, current advice and warnings and access to return home. 

Support and disaster assistance 

You and your family will be offered emotional support. Children and people who identify as needing additional assistance will be given special care. Trained volunteers and staff with experience in disasters are on hand.  

Advice on financial and housing assistance is also available to those who need it.

When the advice or warning for your area has been downgraded.  

Bushfires 

Floods 

 

 

Last updated:
Top of page