Cyclone Survival: All About Emergency Shelters in the NT
Cyclones in the Northern Territory are a common weather event you'll want to create a plan for ahead of time. You should know exactly where your family and pets can go to be safe. It's also a good idea to have an emergency bag packed for you and your family. This will allow you to choose where to ride out the cyclone in advance and get there quickly.
Sheltering at Home
If your home is up to code, you could shelter at home. You'll want to shelter in the most protected and strongest portion of your home. Ideally, it'll be a small, centrally located room with small or no windows. You can also consider central hallways because the home surrounds them. The door should be solid. Metal screens or shutters will provide more protection. Consider installing them if you plan on riding out a storm at home.
Car Park Shelters
Anyone who has pets and wants to shelter in their cars can head to a car park shelter. You'll get the security of being in an enclosed space and your car can give you extra protection. These shelters have limited access to basic amenities and toilets. You'll also want to bring an emergency pack with you. Use car park shelters at your own risk because there is no support staff.
Emergency Cyclone Shelters
Emergency shelters have been fixtures in the Northern Territory since Cyclone Tracy in 1974. The government upgraded several buildings for the express purpose of being public emergency shelters. It's important to note that these shelters don't allow animals. They also have limited space and don't provide meals. However, volunteers also staff them.
Updated Building Codes
In 1974, Tropical Cyclone Tracy blew through Australia. This storm forced people to get their buildings up to date with the newest codes. Property owners started reinforcing their homes with cyclone-resistant materials for added durability and safety.
When to Evacuate
If you decide you're going to evacuate to an emergency shelter, wait until the authorities tell you they're open. You can monitor the Northern Territory Government's social media alerts page for updates. You want to evacuate before the strong winds start, give yourself time to secure your property. Pay careful attention to any radio or television broadcasts. Also, tell your family and friends where you're going.
Cyclone Emergency Shelter Tips
Before you go to an emergency shelter, there are a few things to keep in mind. These tips will help you decide what type of shelter you're going to. Emergency shelters don't allow pets, so you'll have to find alternate arrangements if you can't leave them at home, such as using a car park shelter.
The shelters don't offer meals or any special baby needs. Most emergency shelters are volunteer-run, but emergency shelters have medical and police on hand. These shelters don't automatically mean you're completely safe, but they increase your safety level considerably.
When you go to a shelter, it's always a good idea to have an emergency kit with you. Your kit should have blankets, pillows, food and water supplies, toiletry items, a torch, important documents, clothing, and medicines. You want all of your basic necessities for at least two days in your emergency kit.
If you're not sure where the nearest emergency shelter is, you can find out here. This list of emergency shelters goes by region. You'll also find car park shelters on this list along with their addresses.
A cyclone can be a powerful weather event. Be ready before one occurs as you won't have much time to pack or figure out where you're going. Have your emergency kit ready to go and know what shelter you're using. The more prepared you are, the better chances you have of staying safe during a cyclone.