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Update on COVID-19- The safety of our communities, customers and staff is our top priority. We are continuing to monitor daily developments in response to COVID-19. Find out the latest.

Recovering after an emergency

Immediately after an emergency

  • If you have been hurt, seek medical attention.
  • Be prepared to look after yourself if help does not come.
  • Stay up to date — be aware of what is going on around you and listen to local radio for updates.
  • Check on your neighbours and vulnerable people in your community, including older people and those with disabilities or special needs.
  • Consider your animals — you are responsible for the welfare of your pets and livestock.

Returning home

If you have evacuated, you must wait until emergency services give the 'all clear' before it is safe to return to your home.

  • Stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water, medications, a torch and batteries.
  • Fill up your fuel tank and withdraw cash as ATMs may not be working or banks may be closed.
  • Consider leaving pets and children with family in a safe area until you can assess when it is safe and less distressing for them to return.
  • Be prepared for a slow journey — road conditions may have changed and there may be detours in place.
  • Keep listening to local radio for up-to-date information about the emergency and any new potential risks.
  • Avoid downed power lines, fallen trees, damaged infrastructure and other hazards like floodwater.
  • Do not go sight-seeing as this may hinder recovery efforts or put yourself and others at risk.

If you are returning to an affected area, it's important to be aware of health and safety risks.

  • You need to be mentally and emotionally prepared when returning to your property.
  • Ensure the structural stability of your property before entering.
  • Make sure the electricity and gas is turned off before going inside.
  • If power points, electrical equipment or appliances have been exposed to water, they must be inspected by a qualified electrician.
  • Wear protective clothing including enclosed shoes, a mask and gloves when cleaning up.
  • Be aware of any slip, trip or fall hazards.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of any loss or damages. If you are not insured, there may be resources available through government or non-government agencies.

Read more from the Red Cross about cleaning up after a disaster.


Recovering from a disaster is a complex process that may take months, even years to overcome. After a major disaster, government authorities and service agencies coordinate recovery operations to help communities recover.

If you have lost your home, evacuation centres may be established to provide immediate shelter. You will need to bring clothing, medication and bedding with you. Recovery centres may also be established to provide a one-stop shop for support and assistance after a disaster.

Council supports emergency services agencies to manage and respond to local natural disasters and emergencies. Our role after an emergency is to lead clean-up efforts and coordinate repairs to public assets like roads, parks, drainage and trees.

How to help after a disaster
  • Check on your neighbours, friends and family following a flood and see if there is anything you can do to assist.
  • Volunteer to help out in your local community — check with your local recovery committee to see what needs to be done.
  • Donations can assist disaster affected communities — make sure it's a legitimate charity before you donate money. If you intend to donate goods, ensure they are needed by the affected community.