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Emergency plan: evacuate or stay

You should put together an emergency plan with your household.

Go through the household emergency plan together to make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency.

The plan should include where you, your family and pets will shelter.

You can either shelter in a home built to withstand a cyclone or go to a public cyclone shelter.

If you plan to shelter at home

If your home has been built to withstand a cyclone and is well maintained, you should shelter there.

When sheltering in any home it is important to use the strongest, most protected part of the house.

This is usually the smallest room with small or no windows. Read about choosing a room to shelter in and preparing your home.

To help decide if your home is safe to shelter in, read how safe is your home.

Prepare your home

You should do all of the following to prepare your home for a cyclone:

  • board your windows from the outside or block them from the inside using a mattress and strong, sturdy furniture
  • remove pictures and valuables from walls and shelving
  • place valuables and precious items in strong, water-proof garbage bags and tape up
  • pack away all loose items into cupboards and secure the cupboard doors
  • prepare your shelter area with mattresses, blankets, pillows and your emergency kit
  • have everything you need to take care of your pets if they are sharing your shelter
  • know your nearest safe high ground and the safest way to it in case of a storm surge or flooding.

Read more about preparing your home

When the cyclone strikes

When a cyclone hits, you should:

  • stay inside and well clear of windows in the strongest part of the house 
  • disconnect all electrical appliances
  • listen to your portable radio for cyclone updates.

If your house starts to break apart, protect yourself with a mattress, rugs, blankets or a tarpaulin.

Anchor yourself to a strong fixture such as water pipes or get under a strong table or bed. 

Beware of the calm 'eye' of the storm. A calm period could be followed by violent winds from the opposite direction.

Don't assume a cyclone is over until advised.

Authorities will give an all clear message when it is safe to leave shelter.

If you plan to use an emergency shelter

Persons using shelter should not move to shelter until advised by authorities that shelters are open.

If you choose to go to a cyclone shelter you should leave early well ahead of any severe weather arriving. 

Roads and airports etc may be affected and closed due to weather and its effects.

You should do all of the following:

  • allow time to secure your property
  • leave well before strong winds affect your area
  • take enough food and water to last your family for a few days
  • pay attention to all warnings and follow advice given by police and emergency service workers
  • advise friends of your plans and let them know when you return.

Read more about and get maps for emergency shelters.