Your Evacuation Plan

Prior to each cyclone season, Townsville residents need to develop a Household Emergency Plan that includes evacuation and shelter considerations based on their circumstances and exposure to risk.

What is your risk?

  • Consider the location of your home and review the Storm tide Evacuation Guide.
  • Consider the construction and condition of your home. Do you live in an older home (built before 1982) that is poorly maintained, or do you live in a caravan or temporary dwelling?
  • Consider your needs. Do you live alone, have pets or have special needs?

Consider your shelter options

  • Shelter in Place - If you live in a well-constructed home located outside of a Storm Tide Evacuation Zone, your best option is to shelter in your home.
  • Evacuate to shelter in a safer place - If you are potentially at risk prearrange your evacuation with friends or family first. Consider commercial accommodation or shelter options in your community as a last resort.

Download Shelter and Evacuation Options (PDF)

Storm Tide Evacuation Guide

Cyclones can be a part of life in summer and storm tides can be a real threat. Think about preparing for the cyclone season and grab a copy of the Townsville. Storm Tide Evacuation Guide as authorities will advise evacuations by zones, NOT streets or suburbs. This year be prepared and choose to know your evacuation zone.

The publication provides information on predicted storm tide evacuation zones and procedures to help residents better prepare for potential natural disasters. The maps have been prepared based on guidelines recently released by the Queensland Government to ensure uniformity for storm tide inundation zones for all coastal councils in the wake of last summer’s floods and cyclones.

Storm Tide Evacuation Guide. (PDF 2.5MB)

Shelters and Evacuation Centres

Council has agreement to use a number of buildings throughout the Townsville area within its disaster management processes and plans. The buildings may be used as:

  • Public Cyclone Shelters (Pre-Impact Centres) - A building where people can be temporarily housed if a cyclone was to come near to or cross the coastline with local areas threatened by storm surge or major flooding.
  • Place of Refuge - are refuges that provide a haven for special needs group during a disaster event should they be seeking alternative refuge.
  • Evacuation Centres (Post-Impact Centres) - Where people may be temporarily housed before (non cyclonic) or after an event.
  • Recovery Centres - Established to provide information and a range of services to help people affected by a disaster event. This process is managed by the Department of Communities.

Public Cyclone Shelter

The new category-five cyclone shelter is ready for use if a Tropical Cyclone crosses the Queensland Coast. The shelter is located at Heatley Secondary College, Fulham Road Townsville.

Shelters and evacuation routes

The decision to prepare and open buildings as a Place of Refuge, Cyclone Shelter and Evacuation Centre is made by the Local Disaster Management Group and will be broadcast to the community via local media. You should listen to radio or contact council for the location of buildings which are designated for this use during an event.

Voluntary evacuation notices and mandatory evacuation notices can be issued by the District Disaster Coordinator and the Local Disaster Management Group.

Evacuation Notices

Voluntary evacuation notice

  • The voluntary evacuation notice will be issued if there is a threat developing. This lets people know they are in a potential danger area and allows them ample time to make a considered decision about whether to leave.
  • An example would be when a cyclone is still some way off the coast and is tracking towards a coastal community at a speed and intensity that would create a storm surge at that location. Because the cyclone is still distant there is the possibility it may change direction or intensity, removing the risk of a storm surge.
  • The voluntary evacuation notice will be broadcast on radio and television in conjunction with any warnings.
  • Don't forget to take your emergency kit when you evacuate.

Mandatory evacuation notice

  • The Disaster District Coordinator will issue a mandatory evacuation notice when there is a definitive threat to life.
  • All people in the areas defined in the mandatory evacuation notice must follow given directions. The Disaster District Coordinator has the power to enforce the notice. This power may be delegated to authorised officers in the field who will conduct the evacuation.
  • Do not ignore this advice - the decision to issue an evacuation notice is not taken lightly.
  • Don't forget to take your emergency kit when you evacuate.

Important Notes

  • When you evacuate ensure you turn off electricity, gas and water and that it is locked and secure.
  • Tie a light coloured cloth to your front door, letterbox, fence or other highly visible area. This will inform emergency services you have already evacuated and they do not need to expend valuable time checking.
  • Notify a family member or friend outside of the threat area that you have evacuated and where you are going. Get this person to advise other family and friends.
  • Pets may not be allowed into public pre-impact shelter buildings. You may have to make other arrangements for their care. View or download this fact sheet for more information. 
    Preparing for an Emergency with Pets (PDF, 75.5 KB)