Emergency and Disaster Readiness

28 December 2015

000 Emergency

  • Is someone seriously injured or in need of urgent medical help?
  • Is your life or property being threatened?
  • Have you just witnessed a serious accident or crime?

If you answered YES phone 000 Emergency or 106 Text Emergency Call (if you have a speech, language or hearing disability)

  • Do you want Police, Fire or Ambulance?

  • Stay calm, don't shout, speak slowly and clearly.

  • Tell us exactly where to come. Give an address or location.

  • Stay on the phone with 000 or 106 until you are told to disconnect.

Triple Zero Emergency Logo 106 Text Emergency Call Logo

Police Assistance

Phone 131 444 when you need police assistance and it is not an emergency, for example:

  • reporting a disturbance or breach of the peace (antisocial behaviour)
  • reporting something which has happened in the past
  • reporting a property related incident for insurance purposes
  • making a complaint against police or another individual

You will be asked to press '1' on your phone if you need a police officer to attend an incident now. You will be asked to press '2' on your phone to report an incident that does not require immediate police attendance or for general information.

Calls to 131 444 from most regional areas are automatically directed to the nearest police station.

Fire and Emergency Services

Phone 132 500 for SES emergency assistance (State Emergency Service)

Phone 133 337 for emergency information from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)

  • Bush Fire Survival Plan - this link takes you to the DFES webpage with all the information you need to survive bush fire.


Phone (08) 9334 1222 for general enquiries

Tips on Preparing for Emergency or Disaster

Tip #1. Practice calm

Parents and care providers need to project a demeanour of calm during a natural disaster or emergency, even if we're not! Children and adults on the spectrum may sense your emotional state - and feel increased anxiety as a result. Practice for and prepare to project a sense of calm.

  • Calmly explain what is happening in simple terms. Draw pictures and maps to support understanding, and use images where possible. For example, children generally like Firefighters - explain the work they are doing, and it may help to take the focus away from the stress of evacuation or displacement.
  • Involve the individual with autism in preparing for emergency, such as packing the family emergency kit, and selecting important items to take.
  • Practice emergency scenarios as a family.
  • Ensure that at least one adult in the family has up-to-date Senior First Aid training.
  • Use walking / pacing and sensory items to reduce stress levels, whatever strategies are most calming.
  • Stay well hydrated, as cortisol (the stress hormone) goes up, salt levels can go down. Drink plenty of water and/or ice cubes, and ensure that children stay hydrated as well.
  • If you need some space and a moment to collect your thoughts and calm yourself, ask for help - you will get it.

Tip #2. Prepare for immediate needs prior to disaster (before)

  • Be ready to evacuate. Have a plan for getting you and your loved ones out of your home or building (ask family or friends for assistance, if necessary). Also, plan two evacuation routes because some roads may be closed or blocked in a natural disaster. (see below for links to Emergency & Disaster Readiness Guides)
  • Create a self-help network of relatives, friends or co-workers to assist in an emergency.
  • If you think you may need assistance in a disaster, discuss your disability with relatives, friends, and co-workers and ask for their help.
  • Give a key to a neighbour or friend who may be able to assist you in an emergency.
  • Contact your local emergency information management office (not during an active emergency). Many local emergency management offices maintain registers of people with disabilities so they can be located and assisted quickly in a disaster.
  • Wearing a medical alert tag or bracelet to identify your disability may help in case of an emergency.
  • Include pets in your emergency survival plan.

If you have a speech, language, or hearing disability:

  1. Dial 106 not 000. This is a Text Emergency Call, not SMS and can be dialled from teletypwriters.
  2. Store a writing pad and pencils to communicate with others.
  3. Keep a flashlight handy to signal whereabouts to other people and for illumination to aid in communication.
  4. Remind friends that you cannot completely hear warnings or emergency instructions. Ask them to be your source of emergency information as it comes over their radio.
  5. If you have a hearing ear dog, be aware that the dog may become confused or disoriented in an emergency. Store extra food, water and supplies for your dog.
  6. If you use a communication device, take the device and the charger with you if you have time to safely do this.

Consider your pets and plan to take care of them in advance, particularly if sheltering is necessary, so you can concentrate on the rest of the family as danger approaches.

Have a disaster supply kit on hand that you can use at home or in an evacuation setting. Kits should include:

  1. Flashlight with extra batteries
  2. Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  3. First aid kit and manual
  4. Emergency food and water for at least two days (per person)
  5. Manual can opener
  6. Essential medicines for three to seven days
  7. Cash and credit cards (be sure to withdraw cash in advance)
  8. Sturdy shoes

Also, in case of evacuation, pack a safety & comfort kit, which can include:

  1. Blanket
  2. Pillow
  3. Folding chair
  4. Sleeping bag or cot
  5. Personal hygiene items
  6. Identification and valuable documents (insurance, birth and marriage certificates, and special-needs forms)
  7. Change of clothes
  8. "Comfort" items such as CD players and CDs (with extra batteries) or DVD player and DVDs, iPad / iPod or other tablet and charger. Make sure that all devices are fully charged, and loaded with favourite videos, music and apps
  9. Ear protectors/plugs and/or eye shades
  10. Storage boxes to store small items, could be plastic with lids
  11. A drawing of the building layout and map of the area to give an orientation of where you are in relation to your home
  12. An ID bracelet and autism information cards to explain behaviours to others
  13. Ensure that your car has a full tank of fuel
  14. If you are prepared for evacuation, but on watch and wait alert, watch a favourite movie / TV show or engage in a special interest to pass time, and keep things low stress
  15. Refer also to links below to Emergency & Disaster Readiness Guides
  16. Monitor DFES alerts and warnings -

Image of emergency survival kit

Tip #3. Prepare for needs in your home now so that you'll be ready after disaster strikes

  • Look for items that may have broken or been displaced that could cause a hazard, particularly electrical lines.
  • Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Never use generators, BBQs, camp stoves, or other fuel, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside the home, basement, garage, or camper - or even outside near an open window.
  • Follow instructions for disaster supplies kit and the safety & comfort kit outlined in Tip #2.

Tips sourced and adapted from:

Emergency & Disaster Readiness Guides:

The Australian Red Cross have developed the following guides to support Australians to prepare for emergencies. You can access all of the resources here.

Lil Larrikins Natural Hazards Children's Program logo

Updated 12 November 2019