3. Make a plan

Preparing for an emergency can minimise the impacts on you, your family and community. Disaster preparedness is a process. The important thing is to make a start now and you can do so with the information provided here.

The best plans are created with family, friends and/or neighbours. Don't forget to plan for your pets too.

There are four simple steps everyone can take to prepare for an emergency: 

Step 1: Understand your risk

Before you can make your emergency plan you should understand the specific risks that are likely to affect you and your household. Once you understand your biggest risk you can then develop your personal plan. 

To get started, visit the understand your risk page and explore the various types of disasters and supporting information and resources to assess your risk for each type of disaster based on the location of your home or business. 

If you are a business owner, there are tools available from Business Tasmania to understand your risk and create your business-specific plan.

Advice about insurance considerations is available from Moneysmart - Storm, flood and fire insurance.

Information for tourism businesses, including the Don't Risk It! manual, is available at Risk Management Tool - Quality Tourism Australia.

Step 2: Identify your strengths and what support you need in everyday life

You are the expert in your normal, day-to-day life and have your own routines, processes and support to manage your daily activities. During an emergency, you will need to have processes and support in place, from friends, family and/or neighbours, in addition to emergency services and other emergency support services that become available.

Many of us benefit from the assistance or support of others to live well. If you require the assistance or support of others in everyday life, you will need to factor this into your emergency plan. Discuss this plan with friends, family or your regular support services to determine who may be able to assist you at times of emergency and confirm this in your plan.  

If you are a person or household with a disability, we encourage you to use the Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (P-CEP) Workbook to work through your plan.

For information about preparing psychologically for a natural disaster please visit the Australian Psychological Society Preparing for natural disasters.

Step 3: Make your plan

Under this section we will provide information to develop your plan for certain types of emergencies. Don't forget it's also important to make plans for your business and your beloved pets, more information below. You can create an emergency management plan using the Australian Red Cross' RediPlan' by downloading the 'Get Prepared' app for Android or Apple devices via your app store or printing the PDF version via RediPlan.

Further resources to help you develop your plan can also be found on Emergencies and disasters | Australian Red Cross.

The app or workbook will prompt you to:

  • Add your household contacts, personal support network details and other important contacts, 
  • Plan for child pick up (if applicable), 
  • Add meeting places outside your house, outside your neighbourhood and a place to stay overnight, 
  • Determine your response capacity, etc.
Plan for certain types of emergencies

If you've identified certain types of disasters that you are more at risk of based on your home or business location, visit the relevant websites linked below for advice from the SES, Tasmanian Fire Service and Tasmanian Department of Health for more information about how to prepare for those emergency events and add these to your emergency plan.

Flood Bushfire House Fire Heatwave Landslide Storm Tsunami

For flood-specific planning information, this Community Wise: Floodscapes video has been prepared to support residents by Tasmanian Visual Artist Karen Revie, Invermay Primary School and the Big Picture School. 

 Plan for pets and animals

If you have pets or animals at your property or business, it is important to plan for how you can care for or evacuate them in an emergency.

Evacuating your pets and animals early to a safe place offers both them and you the best chance of protection.

A PET PAL is a friend or relative where you can take your pet(s) to during an emergency situation.  Talk to your PET PAL about your evacuation plans - will you stay or go? Show them where you keep your Pet Emergency Kit. Identify specific locations away from your immediate area where you can go to meet in an emergency, and display your PET PAL details somewhere the whole family can see them.

Pet Emergency Kit

Items your kit could contain include:

  • Food and clean water
  • First Aid kit
  • Required medication
  • Waste bags and litter
  • Disinfectant and paper towel
  • Vet and microchipping details
  • Collars and leads
  • Muzzle (if required)
  • Toys and treats
  • Blankets
  • Crate or pet carrier

For more advice on how to plan for your pets in an emergency, visit the RSPCA's Ready, Pet, Go! website and view the City of Launceston PetPal resource below. 


If you have animals and have identified bushfire is a risk in your area, visit the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania Website - Animals and Bushfire Planning. For more information about pets and heatwave, visit Pets and Heatwave.

For more information about planning for pets in a flood, this Community Wise: Floodscapes video has been prepared to support residents by Tasmanian Visual Artist Karen Revie, Invermay Primary School and the Big Picture School.

Plan for your business

In Tasmania, natural disasters such as floods, fire and even earthquakes can strike without warning. During an emergency, your main aim is to ensure your business continues operating. By carefully researching and planning before an emergency happens, you’ll be ready to act quickly and effectively.

  • An emergency management plan helps you before, during and after an emergency:
  • A continuity plan – helps you prepare your business for an emergency by identifying risks to critical areas and how to best protect them.
  • An emergency action plan – helps you and your staff know what to do during an emergency situation.
  • A recovery plan – guides your business’s recovery after an emergency.

Templates for these plans are available at Develop an emergency management plan | business.gov.au

Please also add a link to developing an emergency management plan from Business Tasmania Emergency management and disaster recovery | Business Tasmania

Step 4: Communicate and maintain your plan

Once you've created your plan and factored in your personal, family or business needs, it is key to communicate the content of your plan with your household or anyone that your plan relies on in an emergency situation.

If you rely on external individuals or services to assist you, make sure they are aware of their role in your plan and make sure this is also factored into their own emergency management plan. Be sure to regularly check in with these people as people's circumstances often change and you will need to update your plan to reflect these changes.

It is important to update your plan following changes in your own circumstances, for example you may have had a health incident and require extra assistance or you may have since recovered from an injury and no longer require this assistance - these changes will all influence how your plan would work in practice.

It is a good idea to review your plan on an annual basis with your household and others involved.

Step 5: Prepare your Emergency Kit

Your Emergency Kit should be kept in a waterproof storage box. Check your kit contents regularly and restock any out of date items such as food and batteries. The contents of your kit may depend on the type of emergency, below provides a general outline on what you should consider including:

  • Keys, wallet, identification, cash and credit cards
  • Warm, waterproof clothing and a change of clothes including shoes
  • Important papers, including insurance documents, bank details money and credit cards
  • Blankets/sleeping bag
  • Hats, sunscreen
  • Camping stove or small barbecue
  • A food kit filled with foods that do not need to be refrigerated and include bottled water
  • Baby food and baby care items e.g. nappies (if applicable)
  • Pet Emergency Kit (if applicable)
  • A list of emergency telephone numbers
  • A First Aid kit with essential medications
  • Your mobile phone and charger
  • A portable radio tuned to ABC 91.7 FM and spare batteries
  • Candles and waterproof matches
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Rubber gloves
  • Toiletries and toilet paper
  • Alcohol wipes and anti-bacterial gel
  • Children's activities such as colouring books, pens and pencils (if applicable)
  • A waterproof bag for clothing and valuables
  • Valuables and cherished articles e.g. jewellery and photos

Additional resources

Resources for children

The SES and Tasmanian Fire Service have created a series of children's activities to help children understand what an emergency is and what it might involve. Visit the SES Kids and/or TFS Kids page to access these resources.

Resources for teachers and parents

The Tasmanian Fire Service has a suite of tools, resources and activities available to teach children about a fire emergency. To access these, visit:  TFS School Fire Education.

To help prepare students for a disaster, the Disaster Resilience Education Tasmania resources for Teachers and Students provide education materials and other resources, available via: Disaster Resilience Education Tasmania.

For teachers of grade 3-5 students, Pillowcase Workshops | Australian Red Cross by the Red Cross is a helpful tool to teach young children about emergency preparedness, safety skills, hazards and coping mechanisms.

Resources for people with disability

There are a number of resources available to support people living at higher risk prepare for disaster. Below are resources that have been developed nationally that can assist anyone living with a disability prepare.

Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (P-CEP) Toolkit - An all-hazards approach to enabling emergency preparedness - Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness | Collaborating 4 Inclusion

Disability Support Guide - Planning to stay safe during flooding | Disability Support Guide

Red Cross Australia -  Resources to help you

Council for Intellectual Disability Resources:


Resources for business owners

If you own a business, it is important to also understand your risk and make a plan to be prepared for an emergency. Business Tasmania have created the Emergency Preparation Toolkit that supports business owners to plan for an emergency and what to do during and following an emergency.

Further information can be found here: Emergency management and disaster recovery | Business Tasmania

Emergency apps to help you prepare

Red Cross Get Prepared app

Get Prepared is an easy-to-use app that empowers you to make important decisions ahead of time by completing your RediPlan. Co-created by Australian Red Cross and NRMA Insurance, it helps you create a personal emergency plan, so you can take care of yourself, your loved ones, and what's important to you.

Get Prepared App

Telecommunications in emergencies and natural disasters

During emergencies or natural disasters, telecommunications systems, such as landlines, cell phones, and the internet, enable us to communicate and receive information. They are essential for organising reaction and recovery activities, but if they were unavailable, it is important to know how to proceed. 

Even while telecom companies make extensive preparations for catastrophes and natural disasters, there are a variety of reasons why these services could be unavailable, including direct damage or an interruption in the power supply.

Visit the Australian Government: Communications in emergencies and natural disasters website for more information.

Next Step: Stay safe during a disaster