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Planning for emergencies at home

Taking the time to think about emergencies and making a plan helps you to think clearly, have a greater sense of control, and make better decisions when an emergency does occur

Planning and preparing for emergencies at home can help protect you, your family and property. It can reduce the impact of the emergency, and recover quicker after.

Emergencies can happen anywhere, at any time. It’s important to have a plan, know what to do and where to find information in an emergency.

Create an emergency plan for your home or work

In an emergency, having a plan to follow will reduce the stress and panic.

Having a plan means you can think clearly, have a greater sense of control and make better decisions.

You can find templates and information about how to create a plan on the Australian Red Cross websiteExternal Link .

Plan how you would escape a fire in your home

Peopel who are well-prepared are more likely to escape their homes safely and without panic.

As part of your plan, you and your family should know:

  • the two quickest ways out of every room
  • how they will exit from upstairs if your home has a second storey
  • an agreed-upon meeting place outside, such as the letterbox
  • how they will call Triple Zero (000)

Never lock your deadlocks when you're at home

During a fire it will be dark and smoky – and a deadlocked door could block your escape. If you must keep deadlocks locked, leave your keys in the door.

Find more information on how to plan and prepare for fire emergency at home on the Country Fire Authority (CFA) websiteExternal Link .

Get ready for extreme heat

Extreme heat can affect anyone. Older and younger people and those with medical conditions are at greater risk.

Heat can cause illnesses such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion. These can lead to the life-threatening condition, heatstroke, which is fatal in up to 80% of cases.

On hot days, plan ahead to stay somewhere cool, drink plenty of water and check in on others. Postpone any non-essential outings. Plan essential activities and appointments for the coolest part of the day. If you must go outside, wear a hat and sunscreen, and take a bottle of water with you.

Visit the Better Health Channel for tips and advice on surviving the heatExternal Link .

Create an emergency kit

Have essential items on hand and make sure your kit is in an easy to grab spot if you need to evacuate quickly. Having your emergency kit at the ready will help you stay connected with the basics you’ll need.

Here is what to include in your kit:

  • radio (battery-powered)
  • torches
  • a supply of batteries (sizes to fit your radio and torches)
  • device chargers (solar-powered and standard)
  • mobile phone
  • food – basic staples that don't require heating or cooling, e.g., muesli bars, tinned food like fruit or tuna (and a can opener!)
  • bottled water
  • warm, waterproof clothing and comfortable shoes
  • spare medication, copy of your prescriptions
  • a first aid kit
  • pet food, medication, gear like bowls and leads – if you have a pet
  • cash
  • printed copy of your emergency plan

Where to find information in an emergency

The ABC is the official emergency broadcaster. It will provide essential up to date information, including advice from authorities and support available. You can find your radio frequency at ABC Local RadioExternal Link .

To stay up to date with conditions, you can also subscribe to

There are official Police, Fire, and emergency services social media feeds you can subscribe to and follow as well.

You can download the Vic Emergency app on your smart phone:

Where to find more information about planning for emergencies

This information is adapted from the SES Plan and stay safe websiteExternal Link , the Australian Red Cross Emergency preparedness guideExternal Link and the CFA Fires in the home websiteExternal Link .

Reviewed 06 February 2024