Basic first steps

If an emergency occurs where life or property is threatened, there are a number of things you can do:

  • Phone 000 for police, fire and ambulance (dial 106 through TTY if you have a speech or hearing impairment) to request help from emergency services. Do not assume others will do this.
  • For help from Victoria State Emergency Services (SES) call 132 500.
  • Do not phone 000 for information as the operator will not be able to provide it. 
  • During an emergency, do not wait for emergency workers to knock on your door. Seek out information from reliable sources and act. 
  • Check for injuries and be sure to attend to your own injuries first so you can help others.
  • Seek medical assistance and consider the basic first aid tips until professional medical assistance arrives.
  • Check on family and neighbours to make sure they are safe, especially the elderly, those with disability or who may not understand English well.
  • Keep phone conversations short to free up the lines for others.
  • Check for damage to your home (such as fires, gas leaks) and shut off electricity, gas and water if necessary. Use a torch to find them in the dark. Do not light matches or candles or turn on electrical switches.
  • Follow the advice given by emergency services to stay home or evacuate as it will be tailored to the circumstances.
  • If you need to evacuate, take all your prescribed medications (and repeat prescriptions), identification, credit cards, key cards and cash as part of your emergency kit.

Stay informed

Seek reliable information about what is happening and advice from emergency services. This information may be provided:

  • in person from emergency services at the scene
  • via radio (ABC 774AM) or television
  • by contacting call centres set up to advise people about the specific event (these will be broadcast over radio and TV).
  • by visiting the VicEmergency website.

VicEmergency is the official Victorian Government app for emergency warnings and information. Download VicEmergency, set up a user profile and watch zones to ensure you receive official warnings and information for areas that interest you.

Important preparation

When thinking about what you and your household might do in an emergency, keep in mind you may be in a situation where:

  • you may be separated from each other, such as children in school and parents at work
  • normal communications might be difficult or impossible 
  • power supplies may be cut
  • you or others may be injured or deceased 
  • there may be fire or other dangerous elements present 
  • information may be limited in the early stages of the emergency event.

Talk with your family, household members and neighbours about things you could do in these situations.

Staying in touch with loved ones

Decide how family members will stay in touch during and after an emergency:

  • Agree on how you will contact each other if not at home, who will collect family members, and who will check on neighbours.
  • Organise an out-of-town person your family or household members can contact in case you are separated. Make a list of that person's contact details (home, mobile and work phone numbers, e-mail) and provide them to your workplace and to your children's school. 
  • Agree on a place for family or household members to meet if separated. 
  • Make arrangements for pets to ensure they will be safe and have food and water.

Store important documents safely

Use a fire and water-proof container or safe deposit box to keep important documents safe, such as:

  • wills
  • passports
  • photos
  • birth and marriage certificates
  • powers of attorney 
  • insurance policies.

Review your insurance policies to ensure they are up to date. If you keep them in your home, we recommend that you:

  • try to take them with you if you evacuate  
  • consider arranging authorised copies to be kept at an alternate secure location. 

Learn about your home

Find out how and where to turn off your homes supplies, including:

  • electricity
  • gas
  • water.

Local emergency services

  • Make a record of your local emergency telephone numbers and keep them near your phone.
  • Remember to dial 000 for police, fire and ambulance attendance during life or property threatening situations.
  • If you have a hearing or speech impairment, dial 106 through your textphone (TTY) to obtain emergency service attendance.
  • If the SES is required phone 132 500.
  • When notifying the emergency services of your location, be sure to give the exact street address and the nearest cross roads.

Basic first aid

Knowing the basics of first aid can be very useful in any emergency. We encourage you to enrol in an accredited first aid course. 

Food safety

Generally, if food is still cold to touch (less than 5°C) it is safe to use. To keep food as safe as possible in an emergency:

  • Only open the fridge and freezer doors when necessary as this will keep the food and air temperature colder for longer.
  • If available, put bagged ice under food packages and trays stored in freezers and fridges if power failure lasts more than one hour.
  • Place an insulating blanket over cold or frozen food where possible.
  • Once cold or frozen food is no longer cold to touch (5°C or over) it can be kept and eaten for up to 4 hours and then it must be thrown away.
  • Contact your energy provider for information about power failures.