Emergency planning and recovery

Emergency Dashboard

Council's Emergency Dashboard includes:

  • status for weather warnings
  • road closures
  • power outages
  • water and sewer interruptions
  • Council services and facilities

Council is not the main authority in emergencies.

Listen to the emergency radio broadcaster, ABC North Coast, on FM 94.5 or AM 720.

For life-threatening emergencies call 000.

View emergency contacts below:

Emergency contacts information

Emergency Contacts

Police - Fire - Ambulance 000

www.police.nsw.gov.au
www.fire.nsw.gov.au
www.ambulance.nsw.gov.au
What happens when you call triple zero?

Flood - Storm - Emergency

State Emergency Services 132 500
www.ses.nsw.gov.au

ABC Radio North Coast FM 94.5 - 1300 659 994
www.abc.net.au/northcoast

Bureau of Meteorology
www.bom.gov.au

Road Information and Closures

RMS report a traffic incident - 131 700
RMS traffic information line - 132 701
www.livetraffic.com
www.myroadinfo.com.au

Council Contacts

Phone: 1300 292 872 or 02 6670 2400
After Hours: 1800 818 326

Email: tsc@tweed.nsw.gov.au

Postal Address:
PO Box 816, Murwillumbah NSW 2486
Main Office: Tumbulgum Road, Murwillumbah NSW 2484
Branch Office: Brett Street, Tweed Heads NSW 2486

Types of emergency

Below are some of the emergency events that could happen here in the Tweed. Also see Guide to Natural Disasters in NSW(PDF, 1MB)

Bushfires

Bushfire Cabarita A bushfire is a fire that burns in grass, bush or woodland and can threaten life, property and the environment.

See bushfires

The intensity of a bushfire depends on the type and volume of vegetation being burnt, the location, the weather conditions and time of year. The statutory Bush Fire Danger Period runs from 1 September to 31 March.

In order to limit the number of fires that escape and threaten life, property and the environment, especially on days when it is very hot, dry and windy, the NSW Rural Fire Service can restrict the use of fire through fire permits and total fire bans.

If you need to burn within the bushfire danger period you must obtain a Fire Permit. Even if you have been issued with a Fire Permit, you must check the RFS website before burning to ensure that there are no current fire bans.

Use the Total Fire Ban and Current Fire Danger Map to find today's fire danger rating for your area, and whether a total fire ban is in effect.

For further advice and information on preparing for the bush fire season or how to become a local RFS volunteer can be obtained from your local Fire Control Centre by phoning Far North Coast on 02 6671 5500 or by visiting the RFS website.

You can also view the RFS Prepare. Act. Survive. Video.

Further Information

Bush Fire Survival Plan
Plan ahead to give yourself, your family and your home the best chance of survival.

Bush Fire Fact Sheets
A wealth of information from the Rural Fire Service about bush fire preparedness.

Bush Fire Household Assessment Tool
Make an informed decision regarding your ‘Leave Early' or 'Stay and Defend’ choice for this bush fire season.

Bush Fires and Permits
Find out whether you need a Fire Permit and how to contact the Rural Fire Service to obtain one.

Earthquakes

An earthquake is a sudden shaking of the ground caused by rocks breaking under stress, deep within the earth.

The size of the earthquake is called its 'magnitude' and this is measured and recorded by an instrument called a 'seismograph', using the Richter scale.

Generally, earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.4 or less on this scale cause very little damage and are felt by only a few people near where the earthquake originated within the Earth - the epicentre. The most severe earthquakes recorded so far have not exceeded 9.5 on this scale.

In the last 80 years, there have been 17 earthquakes in Australia registering 6.0 or more on the Richter scale. While this is relatively few compared to other parts of the world, it is important to be aware of the potentially devastating effects of an earthquake and to be prepared.

You can see the location and magnitude of recent earthquakes using interactive mapping provided by Geoscience Australia.

Further Information

Geoscience Australia
Find out more about earthquakes including causes, hazards and monitoring.

Flooding

Local flooding Murwillumbah A flood can be defined as water inundating land that is normally dry.

As in much of Australia, flooding is familiar occurrence in the Tweed, particularly during the wet season from November to April.

Because of the Tweed's hilly topography, heavy rainfall drains quickly into creeks and rivers draining to the coast, causing flooding in low-lying areas.

Flash floods pose the greatest threat to life and property, because of their rapid onset and unpredictability. These localised events are a particularly serious problem in urban areas where short, intense bursts of rainfall overwhelm drainage systems.

Both types of flooding can happen quickly and with little warning, so it is important not to be prepared and not to become complacent about flood safety. Most flood-related deaths result when people attempt to drive, walk, swim or play in floodwaters. Depth and current are easily misjudged and floodwater will sweep away and submerge even very large vehicles.

The Bureau of Meteorology provides a flood warning service for major rivers in Australia, including the Tweed River. If you are unsure of how to read the BoM website, please refer to the BOM - How to Guide(PDF, 71KB) for instructions.

Never drive through or enter flood waters. During periods of heavy rain, please refer to the MyRoadInfo website to safely plan your travels and avoid unnecessary harm.

During flood events sewer systems might fill up with storm water, causing the system to overflow. For information on what to do in case of a sewer overflow see Sewer Overflows and Odours.

Further Information

NSW SES Flood Safe
For everything you need to know about staying safe from floods, including what do to before, during and after these events.

National Flood Warning - Rainfall and River Information
Up to date mapping of rainfall and river conditions across Australia.

RTA - Live Traffic Info
Up to date information on incidents and conditions to help motorists make the best possible travel decision 

Storms, lightning and cyclones

Extensive damage Oxley Cove During the summer months from November to April, the Tweed region is susceptible to heavy rains, severe thunderstorms and cyclones. These events can produce damaging hail, flash flooding, lightning and gale force winds.

A tropical cyclone is a low pressure system that forms over warm tropical waters and has destructive wind gusts in excess of 90 kilometres per hour. It is important to remember that during the passage of the eye at the cyclone's centre there will be a temporary lull in the wind, but that this will soon be followed by destructive winds from another direction.

Potentially the most dangerous hazard associated with tropical cyclones is storm surge. As a cyclone makes landfall, strong onshore winds and/or low atmospheric pressure causes a rise in water level, typically about two to five metres higher than the normal tide level.

Cyclone storm surge   

See the Bureau of Meteorology for current advice on forecast weather conditions including rainfall and cyclones.

Further Information

NSW SES Storm Safe
For everything you need to know about staying safe from storms, including what do to before, during and after these events.

Download the Storm Safe app for iPhone or Android phones.

NSW SES Cyclone Safety
Information to help you understand and prepare for a tropical cyclone.

Tsunami

A tsunami is a series of ocean waves with very long wavelengths (typically hundreds of kilometres) travelling across the ocean (not related to tides). They are most commonly caused by an underwater earthquake, although can also be the result of landslide, volcanic eruption, ocean meteorite impacts and/or explosions. In the past, tsunamis have been referred to as 'tidal waves' however this is incorrect as tsunamis are unrelated to the tides.

While tsunamis have the potential to cause significant impacts to low-lying areas of the Australian coast, most are small and present little threat to our coastal communities. The NSW coastline has been subject to more than 30 tsunami events over the past 200 years, but these have generally been too small to be noticed.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre is operated by the Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia to monitor, verify and warn the community of any tsunami threat to the coastline of Australia and its offshore territories.

Further Information

Tsunami FAQs
Answers to questions about tsunamis, how they are caused, warning signs and what to do in case of a tsunami emergency.

Emergency management history in the Tweed

History of the Australian Coastguards Kingscliff Flotilla Unit

Kingscliff coastguard radio water tower

The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association Inc was formed in 1961, a voluntary civilian organisation comprising men and women. Coast Guard is a registered charity and a non-profit organisation and all members are dedicated professional volunteers who freely volunteer their spare time to provide this service.

Its main role is to provide marine safety for small vessels around Australia's vast coastline and inland waters. Each year Coast Guard volunteers assist thousands of people, from assisting sinking vessels, vessels with flat batteries and other mechanical problems, vessels that have run aground and often towing these disabled vessels back to safe harbour.

Coast Guard is also often called upon to perform Medivac responses at hard-to-reach islands and beaches and to assist with search and rescue for people who might be lost or missing at sea or in other waterways.

Kingscliff coastguard radio water tower creek Kingscliff Radio Watch was founded by the late George Bonnett, a keen fisherman who had a radio background. He called a public meeting at the Kingscliff hotel and it started from there.

 

Then the NF19 Kingscliff Unit began servicing the boating community in November 1982. It was established as a Unit under The Australian Volunteer Coast Guards on 6 February 1985 and received its Charter on 14 July 1989. Based in Kingscliff, it served an area from Tweed Heads to Pottsville. The first Commander was N. Brooks and F. Anderson was Vice Commander.

The NF Kingscliff Unit operated from a Coast Guard Radio Tower at Faulks Park, in Marine Parade. The tower was built with the help of many founding members of the Unit and was a proud testament to the dedication and commitment of the volunteers supporting their community.

In 2007, the members built a training room at Kingscliff's Ed Parker Rotary Park, for the flotilla's meetings and training with members and the public.

The Coast Guard Unit received regular funding from Tweed Shire Council, complemented by financial assistance from the community in recognition of the volunteers' hard work and dedication. This funding enabled the flotilla to operate five rescue vessels.

While the flotilla's primary role was search and rescue at sea, the unit was enthusiastically involved in a wide range of community activities. It provided radio communications at a local horse riding endurance event, assisted the SES and other services in flood relief, and helped the local fire brigades with radio operations and communications during bushfires.

Kingscliff coastguard training rooms front The training rooms were also utilised by St John Ambulance, CWA ladies and other groups. Less known were the events at the radio watch tower, which served as emergency shelter when beach weddings became weather affected.

A number of the volunteers were ex-service veterans or had family members who served, so the unit always participated in Anzac Day Services.

The Kingscliff flotilla was the last remaining Unit in NSW, although Coast Guard Units are still active around the coastline in other States. With more than 33 years' support to the Kingscliff boating community, the Unit's closure was a sad day for the community and the volunteers.

A commemoration to the years of dedicated service by the volunteers was held at the radio watch tower, where there were mixed emotions about the closure. Many community members questioned who would fulfil the services previously undertaken by the unit and how the flotilla's demise would impact upon the small boating community along this busy part of the NSW coastline.

Changes to maritime management in NSW led to the establishment of Marine Rescue NSW (MRNSW) in 2011, to look after maritime rescue in the State. Marine Rescue NSW brought together members of other Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Units in NSW, the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol and Volunteer Rescue Association's maritime fleet into a single integrated service.

Kingscliff coast Boat Crew

Kingscliff Coast Guard Unit voted against joining Marine Rescue NSW because they felt it was counter to the 'spirit' of volunteer service, choosing instead to remain part of Coast Guards as the last remaining Flotilla Unit in NSW. Once it was confirmed NF19 Unit would not join MRNSW, the Unit's accreditations and funding sources were removed. The Unit's operations were no longer feasible and it ceased operations on 30 November 2014.

The radio tower and training rooms are being considered for future use by community groups, including Marine Rescue Point Danger.

Tweed Shire Council thanks the Unit's members for their dedication to serve the community for more than three decades. Their work to help the community will never be forgotten.