Disasters and emergencies
While they are not common, disasters and emergency situations may affect you at some point in your life.
These could include:
- cyclones and hurricanes
- medical emergencies
- mental health crises
- virus outbreaks
- power outages
- terrorist attacks.
Health in emergencies and crises
In any emergency or crisis, your health can be affected. This may be because you have been hurt or injured, or because you do not have access to things like:
- your healthcare providers
- your medication
- equipment that you usually use
How to prepare
It can be hard to know when you will have to deal with a natural disaster or crisis. But there are three key steps you can take to help you to prepare just in case.
1. Put emergency contacts in your phone.
These should include:
- Ambulance, Fire Brigade and Police: 000
- Australian Government disaster recovery assistance hotline: 180 2266
- Australian Red Cross number for people who have evacuated during an emergency: 1800 727 077
- emergency numbers in your state from the Australian Government website (external link)
- Poisons Information Line: 13 11 26
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- contact details for your doctor and other medical practitioners
- the number for a close family member or friend that does not live with you who you can call for help in an emergency.
2. Write down what you need in an emergency and keep these things in a safe place.
These should include things like:
- important documents (or certified copies of these) like birth certificates, passports, drivers’ licences, Medicare and concession cards
- extra supplies of medication, clothes, toiletries, sanitary and incontinence items, blankets and anything else you would need if you had to stay away from home
- your medical information, or any information others may need to know in an emergency about your disability or medical condition and any medications you take
- a meal plan if you have allergies or specific dietary needs
- other things like a phone charger, torch, glasses and radio.
Tip: MedicAlert is an organisation that provides MedicAlert IDs in the form of wrist bands, key chains and necklaces that you can easily have on hand. Learn more on the MedicAlert website (external link).
3. Have a plan.
Think about things like:
- where you could stay if you need to leave your home and how you would get there
- whether you need insurance for things like your house, car, pets, health, medical equipment or assistive technology
- what you, your family, children, pets, assistance or companion animals would need if you had to stay away from home for a few days or longer
- who you could call for help in an emergency.
Tip: Visit the Red Cross website (external link) for more information and planning guides to help you prepare for an emergency.
Coronavirus (also called COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered virus. The World Health Organisation has announced that coronavirus is a pandemic. This means that it is spreading around the world.
As a result of its rapid spread, Coronavirus is now affecting many aspects of people's lives. To find out more about Coronavirus and how to get support during the outbreak, visit our page on Coronavirus (COVID-19).