Know Your Risks
Types of natural disaster events, which may affect the Townsville area, include:
Severe weather & flooding - including storm surge
What can you do to prepare for the storm season?
Before the storm season begins, follow the guide below to prepare yourself and your family.
Prepare your home
- Check and clean your roof, gutters and downpipes. If any roof tiles or sheets are loose, have them repaired.
- Trim trees and remove branches that overhang buildings. Call a professional tree trimmer if they are near power lines.
- Identify loose objects in your yard, such as outdoor furniture and toys, which will have to be put away or secured if a storm approaches.
- Protect sky lights with wire mesh and fit glass windows and doors with shutters or insect screens.
- Have a supply of plastic shopping bags or sandbags to fill with sand for emergency storm water diversion. Sand for sandbagging can be obtained by contacting Council on 1300 883 699 or SES on 132 500. For tips on how to sandbag and prepare visit the Queensland Government Disaster Management web site.
Prepare yourself and your family
- Be aware of severe storm patterns in your area, for example, which direction do the storms typically come from, where does storm water flow, where the rivers and creeks are and what are your potential evacuation routes.
- Identify the safest place in your home to shelter should a severe storm become destructive. Typically, this will be the bathroom or laundry, or somewhere central in or under the house away from windows.
Keep up to date with warnings
- The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is an excellent source for notifications and monitoring of severe storm activity. They provide a 7-day weather forecast as well as rainfall and storm activity radar images, flood warnings, and river height gauge readings.
What can you do to prepare before bushfire season?
Prepare your home
- Mow your lawn regularly;
- Remove excess combustible material (e.g. dry grass, dead leaves and branches) from your yard;
- Move any flammable items such as wood piles, paper, boxes, crates and garden furniture well away from the house;
- Trim low-hanging branches (those under 2m in height);
- Keep gutters clear of leaf litter;
- Buy and test gutter plugs;
- Enclose open areas under decks and verandas;
- Install fine steel wire mesh screens on all windows and doors;
- Make sure any LPG cylinders are upright and relief valves are pointed away from the house;
- Check that pumps, generators and water systems are working;
- Replace any damaged roofing and seal any gaps;
Bushfire Survival Plan
Your Bushfire Survival Plan details how you’ll prepare and what action you will take if threatened by a bushfire. Your plan must be written down and practised regularly and should take into consideration the ages and physical capabilities of everyone in your household including children and elderly residents. Your plan needs to take into account what you will do based on the Fire Danger Rating.
Keep up to date with warnings
- The Bureau of Meteorology issues Fire Weather Warnings when the Fire Danger Index (FDI) is expected to reach or exceed a value of 50 either today or the next day.
- Warnings are broadcast on radio and television. The Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) is used when bushfire threatens life.
Permit to light a fire
If you live in a rural area and wish to undertake a fuel reduction burn before the bushfire season you must first obtain a Permit to Light Fire.
An application for a ‘Permit to Light Fire’ is made through your local rural fire warden. Following receipt of your application the fire warden may impose conditions on a permit to reduce unwanted risk or nuisance to other people, property or to the environment. The fire warden may refuse to issue a permit if they believe that appropriate safety measures cannot be reasonably achieved.
For more information and to apply for a permit, visit the Rural Fire Service Queensland website or call your local warden. If you do not know who your Local Fire Warden is you can use the online Fire Warden Finder. Simply enter your address and click on the map to display the contact number of the Warden responsible for that area. Alternatively, you can contact the Bundaberg Regional Office on 4154 6120.
State Controlled Reserves
If you wish to ‘burn off’ along a State Controlled Road Corridor, you must obtain a Road Corridor Permit from the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR). For more information visit the TMR web site.
Fires in the home or workplace
House fires always pose a risk, especially from faulty electrical equipment or following power surges. As our homes become more reliant on many different electrical gadgets, the chance of house fires escalates.
Fire prevention and evacuation plans are essential for the safety of all households. We encourage you to take the following steps:
- install smoke detectors and check their batteries every six months (or less)
- turn electrical equipment off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby
make an evacuation plan and practice it with all members of your household – it may be the difference between life and death
What can you do to prepare for earthquakes?
Although earthquakes are unpredictable and can happen at any time, there are still things you can do to prepare yourself should an earthquake hit.
- Identify your safe areas for refuge during an earthquake. These include under a door frame, table or bench.
What should you do to prepare for extreme heat?
- Identify any particularly at risk members of your family such as babies, young children, elderly people, pregnant women, people on certain medications or with medical conditions
- Consider installing alternatives such as awnings, shade cloth, internal blinds or curtains to help cool your home
- Ensure any air conditioners are serviced regularly
- Listen to weather forecasts for potential heatwaves
- Prepare for a power failure. If a power failure does occur, ensure you have a torch, fully-charged telephone or mobile phone, battery operated radio and spare batteries.