Plan for an emergency: What to do to prepare for a cyclone

Plan for an emergency: What to do to prepare for a cyclone

Plan for an emergency: What to do to prepare for a cyclone

Updated 11 January 2014, 9:42 AEDT

Being prepared for an emergency is the best way to stay safe. Here's the key information for cyclone survival, including weather and emergency services details for Tonga.


Fiji Meteorological Service
Cyclone Ian Track Map
Current Regional Warnings
Tonga Meteorological Service
Tropical Cyclone Advisory
Fakamatala’ea makehe 
Tonga Satellite View (NOAA)
Tonga Satellite Movie (NOAA)


Prepare your cyclone kit with all the following items. Make a note of the location of any item not in your kit.

  • Battery-operated radio (with spare batteries)
  • Torch (with spare batteries)
  • Strong shoes, gumboots, leather gloves and overalls
  • First aid kit and medications you need
  • A change of clothes, toiletry and sanitary supplies
  • Special needs for infants, the aged and people with disabilities
  • Water in sealed containers - ten litres per person (for three days)
  • Three days supply of canned food (plus can opener and utensils)
  • Pet food, water and other animal needs
  • Some house repair items such as timber strips, hammers and nails for temporary repairs
  • Tent or tarpaulin, pillows and blankets (woollen and thermal)
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Strong plastic bags (for clothing, valuables, documents, and photos)
  • Spare car and house key



Prepare your home

  • Check the condition of your roof and repair any loose tiles, eaves or roof screws.
  • Ensure windows are fitted with shutters or metal screens.
  • Trim any branches overhanging your house and clear gutters of leaves and debris.
  • Stay updated on the latest cyclone information by following local media or other sources of trustworthy information
  • Decide how you will look after your pets if you cannot take them with you.

If you hear a watch or a warning you should

  • Check that your Emergency Survival Kit is complete and easily accessible
  • Check that your neighbours are aware that a cyclone watch or warning has been issued
  • Clear your property of all loose items. This means bringing outdoor furniture, children’s toys and gardening equipment inside or under cover
  • Secure any boats and move all vehicles and bicycles under cover
  • Fill buckets and bath with water in case water supply becomes restricted 
  • Have your emergency survival/evacuation kit on hand.
  • If your windows are fitted with shutters, ensure these are closed securely. If not, tape your windows in a criss-crossing fashion using strong packing tape. This may not prevent your windows from shattering but it will hold the broken glass in place
  • Bring children and animals (like pets, chickens, etc.)  indoors and remain inside until further advice is given.
  • Update your friends and family as to your whereabouts



If a cyclone is approaching and an official evacuation order has not been issued, you may decide to shelter in your home until the cyclone has passed through.

If you decide to shelter at home:

  • Turn off all electricity, gas and water and unplug all appliances
  • Keep your Emergency Kit close at hand
  • Bring your family into the strongest part of the house
  • If updates are available via radio, keep listening for the latest information and remain indoors until advised
  • If the building begins to break up, immediately seek shelter under a strong table or bench or under a heavy mattress
  • Beware the calm eye of the cyclone. Some people venture outdoors during the eye of the cyclone, mistakenly believing that the cyclone has passed. Stay inside until you have received official advice that it is safe to go outside.
  • Comfort children.

If an official evacuation order is issued then you and your family must leave your home immediately and seek a public shelter or shelter with friends or family who are further inland or on higher ground.

  • Turn off all electricity, gas and water, unplug all appliances and lock your doors
  • Ensure all family members are wearing strong shoes and suitable clothing
  • Take your Emergency Survival Kit and commence your Evacuation Plan
  • If you are visiting or holidaying in the area and do not have family or friends to shelter with, contact your local council or emergency agency immediately to identify options for evacuation.
  • Ensure your pets are in a safe place such as the garage or laundry, if you cannot take them with you.  Leave them with food and water but do not tie them up.
  • Comfort children.

If you are driving when a cyclone hits, immediately park in an area that is clear of trees, powerlines and water courses and stay inside your car.

Stay listening to the radio if latest updates and instructions are being provided.  Stay calm.

Tune in to Radio Australia for news on the hour. Follow  on Twitter for updates.

This emergency plan for cyclones was developed by the ABC and can be found at plans for earthquakes, storms and floods can also be found there as well.

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