NATURAL DISASTERS

Natural disasters are a common occurance in Australia and New Zealand. They usually occur during changes in weather cycles and patterns. Students living in Australia and New Zealand will come to hear or, at times, experience these 'natural disasters' that may come in the form of bushfires, floods, severe storms, earthquakes and landslides.
 
Sadly, these events may exact a human and/or financial loss to those affected. In order to minimize or avoid their effects, the EAUC advises students to follow national disaster broadcasts and to take note of the following recommendations:
    

Cyclones

Heavy rainfall usually results in flooding. This is a common occurrence for low land areas that are located near a river or in urban areas that have poor drainage systems. If you are residing in an area that is prone to flooding, here are some precautions you need to take for 2 different scenarios:

When evacuating your house

  • Notify a neighbor, friend or the local authorities of your new address.
  • Turn off the power, water and gas before evacuating.
  • Take your cellphone with you.
  • Before evacuating, pack warm clothes, essential personal medication as well as valuable and sentimental items in sealable waterproof bags, along with an emergency kit.
  • Move furniture, clothing and valuables onto beds and tables (place electrical items the highest).
  • Lock all doors and windows before leaving the house.
  • Take the recommended evacuation route of your area of residence.
  • DO NOT drive through flooded grounds.
When evacuation is not necessary

  • Stay tuned to local radio stations for updated advice.
  • Restrict children from playing near or in floodwaters
  • Avoid entering floodwaters or going near any drains, culverts and areas where the water depth reaches above your knees.
  • Do not use any gas or electrical appliances that have been exposed to floodwater, until they have been checked for safety.
  • Do not eat food that has been in floodwater.
  • Boil all tap water before drinking, until supplies have been declared safe for direct consumption.
    
Natural disasters are a common occurance in Australia and New Zealand. They usually occur during changes in weather cycles and patterns. Students living in Australia and New Zealand will come to hear or, at times, experience these 'natural disasters' that may come in the form of bushfires, floods, severe storms, earthquakes and landslides.
 
Sadly, these events may exact a human and/or financial loss to those affected. In order to minimize or avoid their effects, the EAUC advises students to follow national disaster broadcasts and to take note of the following recommendations:
        

Floods

Some parts of Australia and New Zealand are prone to cyclones. If you are living around these areas, here are the precautions you will need to take:

  • Check that the walls, roof and eaves of your house are secure.
  • Fit shutters, or at least metal screens to all the windows or any glass covered areas.
  • Clear your property of any loose material that could be blown about and possibly cause injury or damage in extreme winds.
  • ​​​In case of a storm or flood warning, you should already know of safe high ground nearest to you as well as the safest route to it.
  • Prepare an emergency kit to take with you during evacuation and keep a list of emergency numbers on display.
  • When a cyclone watch is issued, fill your car's fuel tank.
  • Ensure that you and your family members are aware of the strongest part of your house.
  • Listen continuously to your local radio/TV for further warnings.
  • When a cyclone strikes, disconnect all electrical appliances and listen to your battery-operated radio for current updates.
  • Stay indoors (unless you are asked to evacuate) in the strongest part of the building, i.e. the cellar, internal hallway or bathroom and keep your evacuation and emergency kits with you.
  • Protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets under a strong table or bench if the building starts to shake or collapse.
  • If you are driving, drive carefully as the roads may be filled with debris.
    

Earthquake

Australia and New Zealand could experience an earthquake. To reduce any risk, there are a few steps of precaution recommended in the occurrence of an earthquake.

  • Check and repair all the cracks in walls or gaps in mortar between bricks in existing buildings.
  • Always have an emergency kit ready, this should consist of: a portable battery-operated radio and a torch with fresh batteries, containers of fresh water, canned food supplies (along with a can opener) and a first aid kit.
  • Have an evacuation plan ready.
  • Take note of the safest areas during an earthquake.
  • Take shelter under a doorframe, table, or bench.
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers (police, fire, ambulance and gas, etc.) on display.
  • If staying indoors, do not leave the house and keep clear of windows, chimneys and overhead fittings.
    
  • ​​If evacuation is necessary, use only the emergency staircase and do not use the elevators/lifts.
  • Keep your distance from tall buildings, overhead structures, walls, bridges, power lines, trees etc.
  • Do not come near any fallen power lines; damaged roads, and landslides.
  • Tune in to your car radio for updated warnings before moving.
  • Turn off electricity, gas, and water before evacuating.
  • Do not light matches and check for gas or fuel leaks and damaged wiring.
  • Evacuate your house if the building is damaged.
  • Expect aftershocks.
  • Do not go sightseeing or enter damaged buildings.
  • Don't panic and help others if possible.
    
    

Heatwaves

A heatwave is a prolonged period of excessive heat and exposure can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke and sometimes death. On extremely hot days it is vital to stay cool and safe. The City of Melbourne recommends the following tips.

  • Keep your home cool by installing window shades or awnings to block the sun. Close blinds and curtains during the day. Open windows when there is a cool breeze.
  • Stay indoors and use an air conditioner if you have one.
  • If your accommodation is too hot, consider going to a cool public place such as an air-conditioned store, shopping centre, cinema, gallery or public pool to keep cool. You can also  visit a friend or family member who has an air-conditioned home.
  • Keep yourself cool by applying wet towels on your neck and shoulders, putting your feet in cool water and taking cool (not cold) showers.
  • Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours 11am to 4pm. If you must engage in strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4am and 7am.
  • If possible, stay out of the sun. When in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 30+) and a hat to protect your face and head.
  • Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible.
  • Drink fluids – particularly water – even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or high amounts of sugar. People with heart, kidney or liver disease or on fluid restricted diets should check with their doctors before increasing fluid intake.
  • There are many drinking fountains throughout the municipality which are free for public use, including a filtered water station in the Bourke Street Mall. Download the free smartphone app, Choose Tap, to find the nearest water station when you are out and about.
  • Make a special effort to check on your family and neighbours during a heatwave, especially if they are seniors, young children, and people with special needs. Many older people live alone and could suffer unnecessarily in the heat because they are isolated from friends and family.
  • Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car.
  • Be prepared for power outages and have an emergency kit ready with items such as flashlights, battery powered AM/FM radios, bottled water, first aid kit and extra batteries. Have details of your power supply company readily available and keep windows open to ensure proper ventilation.
    
    

Bushfires

In case of evacuation
  • Turn off gas and power.
  • Close all doors and windows, and block gaps with wet towels and blankets.
  • Move flammable items away from windows and doors.
  • Notify a neigbour, friend or the local authorities of your new place.

 
During the fire
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Have eye and breathing protection.
  • Consume enough water to prevent dehydration.
  • Make sure someone has notified the fire brigade.
  • Do not leave the house while the flame front moves through.
 
After the fire
  • Extinguish any spot fires in gutters.
  • Beware of any fallen electric power lines.
  • Avoid places that are still on fire and move to a safer area.
  • Leave your home if you feel unsafe. Make sure you protect your home against further damage by weather, theft ir vandalism. Do not leave the site unsecured.