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Emergency Information


A good emergency survival plan includes knowing where you and your family and pets will shelter. Read below to find out more about your shelter options during a cyclone or flood.

Sheltering at home during a cyclone

Since Severe Tropical Cyclone Tracy in 1974, building codes have required buildings in cyclone-prone areas to incorporate cyclone resistant construction. Buildings that comply with the Building Code of Australia are generally referred to as being "built to code".

If your house has been built to code and has been well maintained, you should shelter at home. If your house is not to code, you should consider sheltering with family or friends who have a house built to code.

When sheltering in any home it is important to use the strongest, most protected part of the house. This is usually the smallest room in the house with small or no windows.

Points to remember

  • Small rooms are generally stronger than large rooms
  • Central hallways might give greater protection because they are surrounded by the rest of the house
  • Rooms with few or small windows are better than those with large windows
  • Solid doors with additional securing bolts give greater security than standard doors
  • Metal screens or solid shutters give added protection against flying debris

To learn more about improving the safety of your home in the event of a cyclone, please see our Publications.

Preparing your home and shelter area before a cyclone

  • Where possible, board your windows from the outside or block them from the inside using a mattress and some strong sturdy furniture
  • Remove pictures and valuables from walls and shelving
  • Place valuables and precious items in strong water-proof garbage bags and tape up
  • Pack away all loose items into cupboards and secure cupboard doors if possible
  • Prepare your shelter area with mattresses, blankets, pillows, emergency kit with radio, items to keep everyone occupied and facilities for pets if they are sharing your shelter

Evacuation inland

If you choose to evacuate, you should leave early.

Points to remember

  • Evacuate well before strong winds affect your area
  • Allow time to secure and protect your property
  • You may need to sustain yourself and your family for a few days, so be prepared
  • Listed to radio or television broadcasts and only return when the "all clear" is given
  • Advise friends of plans and confirm your safe return

Emergency shelters

Shelters and Evacuation Centres

Council has agreement to use a number of buildings throughout the Townville area within its disaster management processes and plans. The buildings may be used as:

  • Public Cyclone Shelters (Pre-Impact Centres) - A building where people can be temporarily housed if a cyclone was to come near to or cross the coastline with local areas threatened by storm surge or major flooding.
  • Place of Refuge - are refuges that provide a haven for special needs group during a disaster event should they be seeking alternative refuge.
  • Evacuation Centres (Post-Impact Centres) - Where people may be temporarily housed before (non cyclonic) or after an event.
  • Recovery Centres - Established to provide information and a range of services to help people affected by a disaster event. This process is managed by the Department of Communities.

Public Cyclone Shelter

The new category-five cyclone shelter is ready for use if a Tropical Cyclone crosses the Queensland Coast. The shelter is located at Heatley Secondary College, Fulham Road Townsville.

Shelters and evacuation routes

The decision to prepare and open buildings as a Place of Refuge, Cyclone Shelter and Evacuation Centre is made by the Local Disaster Management Group and will be broadcast to the community via local media. You should listen to radio or contact council for the location of buildings which are designated for this use during an event.

Voluntary evacuation notices and mandatory evacuation notices can be issued by the District Disaster Coordinator and the Local Disaster Management Group.

Click here for Storm Tide Evacuation Maps