The Australian climate is harsh; flooding, bushfire, and other natural disasters are commonplace. Bushfires burning across the state are a reminder that we all need to have an emergency plan in place.
There are many resources on the internet for creating an emergency evacuation plan. This includes a toolkit of items you may need during a bushfire or natural disaster. NSW Rural Fire Service have recommendations of what you should have in your emergency kit, as well as articles on planning and preparing for bushfires. The SES also have recommendations for an emergency kit.
The following websites will allow you to keep up to date with current events so you are able to plan accordingly.
- SES – Your Local Risk: NSW SES provide warnings specific to local areas. Simply enter your postcode or suburb to view the location on the map along with a list of warnings.
- NSW Rural Fire Service – Fires Near Me: displays all bush and grass fires attended by fire services in NSW and other incidents attended by NSW RFS volunteers.
- Google – Weather Hazards in Australia: A collection of state level fire-related data in Australia.
- ABC – Emergency Coverage: shows major events communicated by emergency services. Not all events or evacuations will be shown.
- NSW Government – Live Traffic NSW: Live updates, traveller information and personalised alerts for NSW roads.
Using the Cloud
These days most of our documents and photos are stored in digital format. Having a copy of important data on an external hard drive means if you were to leave in a hurry you can grab the external hard drive along with your evacuation kit. It could even be stored in your evacuation kit.
The downside to this is that the hard drive may not be completely up to date. This is where cloud comes into play.
People are often wary of the cloud. They worry malicious actors may access their accounts and view their data. Most successful attacks on cloud services are due to weak or reused passwords. Always use a unique password for each account and enable 2FA where available.
Below is a list of various cloud services.
- Spideroak One Backup – Zero knowledge security and privacy focused cloud storage. Needs to be setup on a PC or Mac. Zero knowledge means that Spideroak cannot see your files as they are secured via a key created during setup. Once the initial setup has been completed, apps can be downloaded for mobile devices. Unfortunately Spideroak do not offer a free plan.
- iCloud – Apple native cloud storage. Works best with Apple Devices but can also be used on PC or Android. 5GB for free. Plans can be upgraded to give more storage.
- Google Drive/Google Photos – Android native cloud storage. Google Drive offers 15GB of storage for free. If more storage is required you can upgrade to Google One. Google Photo is free for all photos up to 16MP and video up to 1080p HD. This is also compatible with Apple Devices and PC.
- Dropbox – Is another popular multi-platform cloud provider. They offer 5GB storage for free with paid plans available if more storage in required.
- OneDrive – Offers 5GB for free. Plans for larger storage can be purchased. Office 365 Subscriptions include 1TB of storage. One Drive is available for mobile devices, Mac, and PC.
All of these cloud providers offer a mobile app which gives you the ability to instantly upload new photos taken on your mobile device into the cloud.
Having this automated system is a great way to ensure you’ll have access to all your photos whenever you need them. These photos will be available to any device you install the service on.
The client that runs on Mac and PC will also have an option to automatically uploads photos imported from a digital camera.
Documents can also be stored in these cloud services and shared among devices. This is especially handy for things like copies of Birth Certificates, Licenses, and Insurance documents.
For important documents, such as Birth Certificates, Licenses, Insurance documents it would be recommended to have an original copy in your evacuation kit – with the cloud copy being a backup.
Emergency Phone Numbers
You should have a printed copy of emergency numbers as well as storing them in your mobile device.
- Emergency: 000
- SES: 132 500
- Bush Fire Information Line – 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737)
- NSW Police (non-emergencies) – 131 444
- Phone numbers for Family, Friends, and Neighbors.
- Phone numbers for your Local Council, Insurance Company, Water and Electricity suppliers.
Have a Plan
I have limited this blog post to the digital/online side of your plan. There are many other items you may need during an emergency or extended time away from your home. Please read the other resources provided by RFS and SES and do research on what it best for you and your family. Listen to the advice of emergency services and stay safe!