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Disasters and Crises

Natural disasters and crises like cyclones, floods, bushfires and virus outbreaks may make you may feel worried, anxious or unsure about what to do.

You have the right to receive the help you need during disasters and crises. This page provides information and resources to help you.  

Note:
If you are in danger or concerned for your safety call 000.

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Disasters and emergencies

While they are not common, disasters and emergency situations may affect you at some point in your life.

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These could include:

  • fires
  • floods
  • cyclones and hurricanes
  • heatwaves
  • droughts
  • 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
  • shelter.

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

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).

Important Resources

External website
1800RESPECT
A 24-hour confidential information, counselling and support service. Phone or chat online now.
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Australian Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
This website is regularly updated to give you the latest Coronavirus news and advice from he Australian government.
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Zoom Meetings
Zoom is a program that allows you to run or join a meeting online. This document explains how to download Zoom, create an account, host a meeting and join a meeting.
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Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA): Bushfire and Emergency Relief Resources
AWAVA has collated a range of resources to help support the safety of women during bushfires and other emeregncies. You can find them on this web page.
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Homelessness Australia: Services
A website listing services in each state and territory that can help if you are experiencing domestic violence or homelessness.
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Techpoint: How to set up emergency contacts on your phone
This article explains how to set up emergency contacts on your Apple or Android phone.
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WDV: Easy English Guide to Facebook
An Easy English guide to Facebook written by Women With Disabilities Victoria.
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WDV: Easy English Guide to Skype
An Easy English guide to using Skype written by Women With Disabilities Victoria.
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Where to next:

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Disability Advocacy Finder
A website that can help you find a disability advocate.
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Beyond Blue
Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health.
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After Hours GP Helpline
If you need a doctor urgently or after hours, you can contact healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or look for an after hours lGP using the form on this website.
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Headspace
Headspace is a national organisation in Australia that offers services and support to young people stuggling with their mental health.
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Lifeline
Lifeline is a national organisation that supports Australians in mental health crisis. If you are in crisis you can call Lifeline on 13 14 11.
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Find a Health Service
An online tool to help you find a near by health service that meets your needs.
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Head to Health
A website with mental health information and resources for your needs.
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Red Cross: Help in Emergencies
The Red Cross website has information to help you prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.
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NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
If you have a problem with a registered NDIS provider, you can make a complaint on this website.
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Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA)
WWDA website where you can find a range of government submissions, reports and publications about women and girls with disability.
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MedicAlert
MedicAlert provides MedicAlert IDs in the form of wrist bands, key chains and necklaces that you can easily keep with you.
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Apps
Instascript
Instascript is an app you can use on your computer or phone to get a prescription online and have it sent directly to your local pharmacy.
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Skype YouTube Channel
Skype's YouTube channel has a range of helpful videos about how to use Skype to meet with friends and colleagues online.
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Zoom YouTube Channel
Zoom's YouTube channel has a range of helpful videos about how to use Zoom to meet with your friends or colleagues online.
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