Fire, Flood, Storm, Tsunami & Quake Safety


Victoria has many flood-prone communities with thousands of homes, properties and businesses at risk of flooding. Floods cause more damage per year in terms of dollars and lives lost than any other natural hazard in Australia. Flooding can happen at any time of the year.

If you live in, work in or visit areas on low-lying land, close to creeks or rivers, or near major stormwater drains you may be at risk of flooding.

A well prepared community can reduce the impact of flooding by up to 80%.

People who are prepared are more likely to respond to floods appropriately and safely.


Riverine flooding

In riverine flooding, relatively high water levels overflow above the banks of a stream or river. Depending on the local landscape, some floods may pass quickly, while others will move slowly down the river, sometimes lasting for several months. As the water moves downstream during floods, this may cause flooding in areas where it is not raining.

Flash flooding

Flash flooding is caused by heavy rain over a short period of time and is generally defined as de- veloping in six hours or less from rainfall to the onset of flooding.

Overland flooding

Overland flooding is a type of flash flooding caused by a large amount of rain falling in a small area, causing storm water drains to overload.

Weather Warnings

Flood Watches and Flood Warn- ings are issued by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to tell people about possible flooding.

Flood Watches mean there is there is a developing weather pattern that might cause floods in one or two days.

Flood Warnings mean flooding is about to happen or is already happening.

Flood Warnings are classified into Minor, Moderate and Major depending on the expected size and impact of the flood.

SES will provide information about how the floodwater might affect people and properties.

Severe Weather Warnings or Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued when heavy rain fall that could lead to flash flooding is expected. Flash flooding happens quickly. There may be little or no warning. The arrival time and depth of a flash flood can not usually be predicted.

Remember that you may not receive any official warning. If you think you are at risk, do not wait for an official warning to act.

Emergency Alert

During floods, SES may provide an alert through the National Emergency Alert Telephone Warning System. All Emergency Services can use Emergency Alert to warn communities about dan- gerous situations by voice mes- sage to landline telephones or text message to mobile phones.

If you receive an Emergency Alert you should pay attention and act accordingly.

Prepare an Emergency Plan

Flooding can happen at any time, with little warning. People who have planned and prepared for emergen- cies can help to reduce the impact of emergencies on their homes and families and recover faster.

Your emergency plan should include:

  • Emergencies that might affect you
  • How they might affect you
  • What you will do before, during and after an emergency
  • Where you will go if you evacuate and the safest route to get there
  • A list of contact numbers you may need


The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) is the control agency for flooding in Victoria, which means that we are responsible for planning for floods, and for managing flood response if they do occur.

Be prepared

Victoria has a long history of flood- ing, and is home to many flood- prone communities. Floods cost Victorians more than $460 million every year, and can cause significant damage to homes, businesses and community infrastructure.

We’ve put together some import- ant information that can help you learn more about what you can do to prepare your home for flooding. You can use the sub-navigation or click on one of the questions below to start preparing now.

Emergency Plans and Kits

Even though it’s easy to think that disasters won’t happen to you, emergency situations can happen anywhere, at any time. It’s important to have a plan, and to know what to do in an emergency.

Experience shows that those who plan and prepare for emergencies can reduce the impact of the emergency, and can recover quicker afterwards.

Taking the time to think about emergencies and making a plan helps you to think clearly, have a greater sense of control, and make better decisions when an emergency occurs.

Emergency Plans

Creating an Emergency Plan takes very little time and may help save your life or property during an emergency.

Things to think about when creating your Emergency Plan: Who should I include in my plan?

Consider all members of your household including pets, regular visitors and people who may stay with you part-time.

What emergencies could affect me?
Think about where your property is located and the way it looks. Think broadly about the kinds of emergencies that could impact you. Don’t fall into the trap of focussing on one emergency at the expense of others.

Where will I go if I need to evacuate?
Make sure that you and your family all understand when and how you will leave, and where you will go. Think about the safest routes, and what you will need to take with you if you go.

Where will I find emergency information and warnings?
Know where to go for official emergency information. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers and website addresses handy, and know how to tune in to your local emergency broadcaster.

Where will I meet my family if we are separated?
Determine a safe meeting place in case you are separated, and make sure your family members, friends and neighbours are aware of the location.

What if I have special needs?
If you have special needs, you need to think carefully about your plan. If you have a carer or council support, ask them how to help you prepare or check over your plan.

Start by thinking about:

  • Whether you will need help to leave your home
  • Having a pre-arranged safer place to stay
  • Whether you will need to take any special equipment with you
  • Whether you will need an alternative power source to run life-support equipment

Even if you only need help from a neighbour, talking about it now will ease your mind and ensure everything is in place before an emergency occurs.

Red Cross Australia has excel- lent emergency planning advice for people with a disability and their carers.

Your home emergency kit should include everything that you and your family need to cope in an emergency. We have created a simple flyer that can help you put together your own emergency kit.

A basic home emergency kit should contain:

  • Portable radio with spare batteries
  • Torch with spare batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • A copy of your emergency plan • Bottled water
  • Enough non-perishable food for three days
  • Rubber gloves
  • Food and special requirements for pets

If an emergency occurs, add the following items to your emergency kit:

  • Important documents such as passports, birth certificates and insurance papers
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Strong boots or shoes
  • Medications and prescriptions


Translate this page

proudly supported by