Be Prepared – Natural Disasters and Emergencies

Here are some tips on how you can be prepared and use your mobile device to stay safe during an emergency situation or natural disaster:

  • In an urgent medical or life threatening emergency situation,  call Triple Zero (000). Remember you can call Triple Zero (000) even without a SIM card in your mobile, provided you have battery power and are within the coverage area of any Australian mobile network. Find out more about calling Triple Zero (000) from a mobile here.
  • Pay attention to any Emergency Alert warnings you receive via text messaging on your mobile.
  • Save important “In Case of Emergency” or “ICE” contact numbers for family, friends in your contacts on your mobile device so you will easily be able to access them in an emergency. Having numbers listed under ICE in your contacts list can also assist emergency workers or others get in contact with someone who can help with vital information about you if something happens to you.
  • Save numbers for emergency service organisations in your contact list. For example, you may want to include:
    • State Emergency Services (SES) – 132 500
    • Police Assistance Line (PAL) – 131 444
    • your local police station and fire services
    • your GP or medical centre and local hospital
    • your spouse or partner’s workplace, your children’s childcare centres or schools, parent’s nursing home etc
    • neighbours
    • your local vet if you have pets
    • poison information line 131 126
    • local council
  • If you have a smartphone, you can download the Emergency + App (developed by NSW Fire and Rescue) available from the Windows, Google Play and Apple App stores for free. This App uses your smartphone’s GPS capability to provide you with your location information which you can then give to the Triple Zero (000) operator if needed. The App also provides information about when to call Triple Zero, the SES or PAL. Links to download the free App can be found at emergencyapp.triplezero.gov.au.
  • Keep your mobile devices and batteries charged as power outages can often occur during or after natural disasters. Conserve battery power during emergencies and disasters by only using your device for important communications, rather than web browsing or video streaming. Remember if you are in your home, you may still be able to receive information by radio or tv and that you can use your landline (if you have one) to call Triple Zero (000) or other emergency numbers. Please note – if you have the NBN, you will lose connection during a power outage, including connection to call Triple Zero, unless you have arranged for a battery back-up service with your NBN provider. In a power outage, your mobile may be the only way to contact emergency services.
  • Sometimes mobile networks can experience temporary outages during natural disasters or emergency situations or they may simply be handling a lot of traffic. If you are unable to use your mobile to make a voice call, try sending an SMS or contacting family/friends by social media. And limit your communications to both conserve battery power and reduce traffic on networks.

You can read more about how to be “mobile phone prepared” for emergencies and natural disasters here.