Get ready for disasters

Each year, communities across New South Wales experience a range of emergencies, including bushfires, home fires, floods, storms, heatwaves and power outages. These events sometimes occur with little or no warning.

Our emergency service organisations do an incredible job of keeping us safe, but they can only do so much.

Kempsey Shire Council provides the information on this page as a starting point to help you prepare for an emergency event. Preparation will help you cope and make better decisions when an emergency affects you.

Being aware and prepared is everyone’s responsibility.

Australian Warning System

On 30 September 2022, emergency response agencies like the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) moved to the Australian Warning System.

This is a new national approach to information and warnings during emergencies like bushfires, floods, storms, extreme heat and severe weather.

Under this system, there are now three warning levels:

  • Advice: An incident has started. Stay up-to-date in case the situation changes.
  • Watch and Act: Conditions are changing and you need to start taking action now to protect you and your family.
  • Emergency Warning: This is the highest warning level. You may be in danger and need to take action immediately.

For a detailed explanation of each level, visit Our Warnings on the NSW SES website.

Get ready for any disaster

Resilience NSW outlines five simple steps to get ready for disasters. We should all follow these to stay safe.

1. Know your risk

Think about the area you're in and the types of disasters that could affect you.

2. Plan now for what you will do

Sit down with your household and plan what you will do if a disaster affects your area. The Rural Fire Service (RFS), State Emergency Service (SES) and Fire and Rescue NSW can help you plan for our most common emergency events:

Prepare an evacuation kit

Plan ahead and know what you would take if you had to evacuate. Items will vary from person to person, but should include basics that you can carry, things like important documents, medications, drinking water, cash, a torch, toiletries, snacks, clothing and bedding. A favourite teddy bear, or sentimental photos might be important too.


You can also put together a Home Emergency Kit - the SES website will guide you through putting your kit together.


3. Get your home ready

Staying on top of general house maintenance is an important part of being prepared.

Maintaining lawns, clearing gutters, and ensuring a fire break is clear around your property are all simple measures to help keep you safe. Various Get Ready home maintenance tips are available online from emergency service providers.

You can also help in being prepared in an emergency by checking your insurance coverage.

For more information to help you prepare your home or farm, watch these videos from the NSW RFS and SES: View the Get Ready videos.

4. Be aware

Find out how to prepare, what to do if there's a disaster in your area and connect with emergency services to stay informed.

For coverage of current events, tune into local radio: ABC Radio 95.5 FM or 684 AM.

For information on fire, visit or phone the RFS Information Line on 1800 679 737.

For information on current bushfire threats, go to or download the Fires near me app.

For information on storm, flood or tsunami events
, visit or phone the NSW SES on 132 500.

5. Look out for each other

Share information and these steps with your family, friends, neighbours and those who may need assistance.

Get Ready for Bushfire

It’s important that you sit down with everyone who lives at your place to make a Bushfire Survival Plan. That way, if a bushfire starts, everyone will know what to do and when to do it.

Follow the five simple steps below, and download and complete your Bushfire Survival Plan(PDF, 4MB). Or if you'd like a paper version you can contact Council on 6566 3200.

If you need a more detailed plan or you're planning to stay and defend in some circumstances, go to the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) online tool at You can complete the steps there and print a PDF version of your plan to keep at home.


Step 1

Know your risk

Kick off week one by watching (with your family) the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) video called Bush Fire Fact - Know your risk.

Complete Step 1 in the Bushfire Survival Plan(PDF, 4MB).

If you want more detailed information, you can also look at the NSW RFS Know Your Risk web page. You might like to complete the online tool - assess my risk.

Step 2

Plan for what you will do

Complete a written Bushfire Survival Plan with everyone who lives in your home.

Watch (with your family) the NSW RFS video Bush Fire Fact - Make your Bushfire Survival Plan.

Complete Step 2 in the Bushfire Survival Plan(PDF, 4MB).

This week, you'll also need to get a home emergency kit together so you are ready for any emergency.

You will need to make some decisions, which are outlined in the plan.

You can find Neighbourhood Safer Places here, or ask your nearest NSW RFS brigade.

Check the Bushfire Survival Plan(PDF, 4MB) for what to put in an emergency kit, or visit the NSW RFS emergency kit page or the NSW SES website.

Congratulations on completing your Bushfire Survival Plan. Place it with your emergency kit and make sure everyone in the house knows where it is kept.


Step 3

Prepare your property

This week it’s time to prepare your home, yard or farm property for fire season.

A well-prepared home is easier to defend against fire and is safer for you and volunteer firefighters.

Watch (with your family) the NSW RFS videos to help you plan the jobs you need to do to make sure your home is well prepared:

View the Get Ready videos

Set aside some time on the calendar when you will undertake the jobs listed to prepare your home.

Complete Step 3 in the Bushfire Survival Plan(PDF, 4MB).

It’s a fact that many homes are under-insured for bushfire and can’t be rebuilt for the amount they are insured for.

Check your insurance policy and talk to your insurer if you think this might be the case.

Place a copy of your insurance documents in the emergency kit, or make sure you have the 'Know Risk' insurance tracker app on your phone to keep track of your policies.

If you can’t physically do the work to prepare your home, please don’t hesitate to ask your family, friends or engage a service to help you. If you have limited support from these sources, then the NSW RFS’s AIDER service may be able to help you. There’s information on the RFS website  or you can call 8741 4955 or email



Step 4

Be aware

This week make sure you are keeping aware every day during fire season.

Download the Fires near me mobile app to your phone so you will receive alerts when fires are near you.

Watch (with your family) the NSW RFS video on fire ratings, and make sure you check page 2 of the Bushfire Survival Plan(PDF, 4MB) to understand the fire warnings that the NSW RFS issues.


Check the Stay Updated section in the Bushfire Survival Plan(PDF, 4MB)


Ways to stay updated


Step 5

Look out for each other

We need to make sure we help others get ready too.

Share information with your family, friends, neighbours and those who may need assistance, especially older neighbours and people with disability.

Make sure older neighbours have prepared their homes for bushfire season, and they have completed the Bushfire Survival Plan(PDF, 4MB).

Write down the names and phone numbers of anyone who is vulnerable or may need you during a fire emergency – it’s the last item in your Bushfire Survival Plan(PDF, 4MB).

In an emergency, make sure you call them early and help them leave early too.

Talk about your plans with family, friends and neighbours before an emergency happens.



Get Ready - Business


If your business was shut for a month or more, how would that affect you, your staff and their livelihoods?





Preparing for disasters is as important to successful business outcomes as making an annual business plan. 




Taking steps now to prepare against disaster is smart business. It can mean the difference between reopening two days or two months after an event, or not at all.

The Australian Government publishes information on how to prepare an Emergency Management Plan for Business.

Get Ready - Animals

Animals rely on us to keep them safe. Emergencies can occur suddenly, and planning for your pets and animals keeps everyone safe.

Making an Animal Emergency Plan doesn’t take long - for details, head to the SES Get Ready - Animals page.

See also Travelling stock reserves.