What to do before, during and after a flood in Australia

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to prepare and stay safe during a flood.

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We've pulled together resources from government and emergency services to help you in the event of a flood. It's broken down into 3 checklists: before the flood, during the flood and after the flood.

How can this page help you?

Before the flood checklist

If you live in a flood-prone area, here are 5 things to do so you're prepared:

one

Find out if you're at risk

Check the Australian Flood Risk Information Portal to see if you live in a flood-prone area. You can also call your local council and talk to people who have been in the area for a long time for more insight. This could allow you to prevent more damage from occurring if something happens.

two

Pack supplies

Pack a household emergency and evacuation kit and store it safely in your home somewhere. This should include:

  • First aid kit
  • Medications
  • Essential toiletries
  • Drinking water (enough for 3 days)
  • A battery-powered radio (including more batteries)
  • Important documents including passport and insurance information
  • Warm clothing, bedding and pillows
  • Non perishable food (tinned food)
  • A can opener if necessary
  • Waterproof bags
three

Check your insurance

Car and home insurance policies won't generally cover you for floods if you take out a policy within 72 hours of the weather event occurring. To ensure you're covered in case something happens and your home is damaged, take out insurance that covers floods.

four

Have emergency contact numbers handy

Save local emergency numbers on your phone so you know who to call if you need help. Call 132 500 for flood, storm or tsunami help. In a life‐threatening emergency, call 000.

five

Prepare your home

Keep up to date with the weather forecast. If the Bureau of Meteorology issues a severe weather warning, and it's still safe to do so, secure all loose outdoor items, like furniture and garden tools, and make safe any potential hazards inside your home – for example, tall cabinets or bookshelves. If possible, you should also charge your phone before the bad weather hits. Some states have developed emergency plan templates for homes and businesses which can be helpful to go through well in advance of a flood.

During the flood checklist

one

Disconnect your utilities

The Queensland government advises you to turn off your power points and unplug electrical equipment if you've lost power. You should turn off the gas and water as well. If you decide or need to evacuate, "be sure to shut down household utilities and empty refrigerators and freezers,
leaving doors open," says Emergency Management Australia.

Make sure you know where your power, gas and water is located in your house in advance of a flood, and how to turn them off.

two

Keep up-to-date with news

Listen to local radio for information, updates and advice and follow information on social media if you're able to.

three

Evacuate if necessary

In some cases, evacuation may be necessary, whether you're told by the authorities or you decide to leave. Take your emergency kit with you and tell a family member, friend or neighbour where you plan to go. Be sure to follow all instructions by emergency authorities.

four

Stay inside and move to the safest area of your home

If you can't evacuate or it's not safe to do so, move to the highest, safest area of your home. Secure items that are potentially unsafe or dangerous. This can include large household items such as fridges as well as chemicals that react with water.

five

Don't travel if it's flooded

"The majority of flood-related deaths in Australia are a result of inexperienced people entering flood waters either in boats, vehicles or on foot," says Emergency Management Australia. Travelling in a flood area should be avoided unless it's absolutely necessary.

After the flood checklist

one

Only return home when emergency services say it's safe

If you have had to evacuate, only return to your property when it's deemed safe to do so by emergency services.

two

Don't turn your electricity on

If there's water in your home, don't turn on your electricity. Call an electrician and they will be able to inspect if it's safe.

If you come across any downed powerlines call 000 immediately.

three

Don't touch floodwater

Don't touch the floodwater as it can be full of bacteria and much deeper than you think. Wear gumboots if possible and avoid areas where the water is moving much faster.

four

Contact your insurer

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to let them know your property has been damaged. They'll be able to help you get the claims process underway and in some cases, they will arrange emergency works to prevent further damage – for example, if you have a badly damaged roof. You should have your insurance papers in your emergency kit but don't worry if not – insurers should have electronic records.

five

Reach out for help

If you don't have insurance, it can be a particularly difficult time – but there are still some ways to get help. State governments often provide personal hardship financial assistance to people who have been heavily impacted by floods. It can help pay for essentials like food, medical supplies and temporary accommodation, and in some cases, basic home repairs.

Know who to contact

Banner with emergency contact numbers

Call 132 500 for flood help and 000 in a life-threatening emergency. For more information on your state or territory's emergency services, check out the links below:

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