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After an emergency

Living in Australia means we face natural disasters and weather hazards throughout the year. Knowing what to do after an emergency will go a long way to helping get you back on track as soon as possible.

Stay informed through the media

Use a battery operated radio from your emergency kit to listen to the local ABC station for ongoing updates and information from emergency services and the SES. You can also keep across updates on social media (for example, Facebook and Twitter), and there are also numerous emergency services apps (for example, Australian Fires Bushfire Map).

Remain calm

  • Check yourself and others for injuries
  • Give first aid to those people injured or trapped
  • Take care of life-threatening situations first or call for help
  • Help any elderly neighbours and people with disabilities.

Check your home

Put on sturdy shoes and protective clothing to prevent injury from debris, such as broken glass and check your home for any damage. If your home is unsafe, leave and don’t return. If you’re unable to leave unassisted, call emergency services.

Returning to your home

When you return, here are some basic things to do:

  • Wear protective clothing and a mask
  • Turn off power and gas before entering the property
  • Check for hazards such as live electricity, leaking gas, septic or sewage leaks and major structural damage
  • Call your insurance company as soon as possible
  • Make a list of damaged items for the insurance company and don’t throw away any items other than perishable goods
  • Lock and secure entry points to protect your home from theft or vandalism.

Getting your property back to normal

  • Wear protective clothing including boots, eye protection, gloves and a mask
  • Discard food, drink and medicines that have been exposed or defrosted
  • Have power points checked by a certified electrician and get them to also evaluate electrical equipment and the hot water system
  • Inspect gas appliances and gas bottles
  • Clean and run taps for a few minutes to eliminate contaminants
  • Open doors and windows to dry and create air flow
  • Discard porous items such as mattresses, leather goods, soft toys and ceiling insulation
  • Clean walls with a mild detergent
  • Dry rugs and carpet as soon as you can with heaters and fans to prevent them from rotting
  • Scrub furniture with a cleaner and brush in the shade for ventilation, and remember to remove drawers
  • Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth and then a dry cloth. Stuffing purses with newspaper can help them retain their shape.

Check insurance

Make sure your home and contents insurance is up-to-date and that the sum-insured amount is enough to rebuild or replace your contents. It’s a good idea to have your insurer’s details handy and know how to contact them should you need to in a hurry.

Things you should know

The information contained in this article is general information only and is not specific to any product.  

It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs to these factors before acting on it.

Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to any insurance product. Please read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Terms and Conditions or Product Disclosure Statement, before deciding.

Cover is subject to your application for insurance being accepted.

Westpac Retail and Business Banking Financial Services Guide, Credit Guide and Privacy Statement (PDF 85KB)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statements (applicable to policies issued or renewed on or after 1 July 2019) (PDF 339KB)

Home and Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement and Supplementary Product Disclosure Statement (applicable to policies initially issued in the period between 30 June 2018 and 30 June 2019; or renewed in the period between 30 July 2018 and 30 June 2019) (PDF 328KB)

View the Home and Contents Insurance Key Fact Sheets.

Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Westpac General Insurance Limited ABN 99 003 719 319 (except workers compensation cover where applicable). Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 distributes the insurance, but does not guarantee the insurance. This information does not take into account your personal circumstances. Read the Product Disclosure Statement to see if this insurance is right for you.