As the latest Cyclone Season hits North Eastern Australia with Ita being upgraded to a four on the tropical storm scale it is interesting to look at what is needed in the typical survival kit for this area of the world, and what are the best outdoors clothes and equipment to be included. Ita is potentially the most powerful storm Yasi in 2011.

Emergency services have asked residents between Cape Grenville and Cairns to finalise their preparations as the storm approaches the coast. The latest information (4pm local time) advises that the cyclone is now 710km north-east of Cooktown and is moving west at about 15km/h and slowly intensifying. Wind Gusts of 205km/h have already been recorded at the centre of the storm. The Bureau of Meteorology expects it to make landfall between Lockhart River and Cape Flattery, with what they describe as ‘very destructive winds’ at its centre.

The range of natural hazards that affect Queensland can cause major disruptions to all essential services, so everyone is expected to prepare there ‘Household Emergency Kit’. The Kit is basically a collection of items that provides for a household’s essential needs in the event of an emergency such as storm, flood or cyclone. It should be kept in a sturdy, easy to carry bag or waterproof storage box and stored in a safe place that is easy to access.

Items to include in the kit at all times are:

Food and water – a range of non-perishable food items and bottled water

Medical and Sanitation supplies – First Aid Kit and Manual, essential medications (prescriptions and dosage), toilet paper, toiletry supplies (toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo), personal hygiene items.

Lighting – torch with extra batteries (or wind up torch), battery powered lantern.

Communications – Battery powered radio with extra batteries (or wind up radio), traditional wired telephone (for land line), prepaid phone cards and coins for phone calls

Clothing and footwear – Warm jumper, waterproof jacket, hat and gloves, closed-toed shoes or boots for each person in the household.

Tools and Supplies – Plastic sheeting and duct/masking tape, whistle and utility knife, plastic garbage bags and ties, safety glasses and sun glasses.

Miscellaneous Items – Specific supplies for infants (nappies and formula), the elderly and people with special needs, spare house and car keys, pet food, water and other pet needs.

Important Documents - Keep original or certified copies of the following documents in your Emergency Kit. Scan copies of these documents and save on a USB memory stick or CD to include in your kit. Keep all these items in sealed plastic bags. Insurance documents for your house, contents, cars and valuable items, Inventory of valuable household goods, Wills and life insurance documents, House deeds / mortgage documents, Birth and marriage certificates, Passports / visa details, Stocks and bonds, Medicare, pension card details and immunisation records, Bank account and credit card details, Back up copies of important computer files, a copy of your completed Household Emergency Plan with emergency contact phone numbers.

Extra items to include in your Emergency Kit during cyclone and storm season

Ensuring you have these extra items on hand or included in your kit during the storm and cyclone season will assist you when weather warnings are issued:

Food and water - Three days supply of non-perishable food (plus can opener, cooking gear, plates and utensils), Clean water in sealed containers (10 litres per person is recommended for three days supply), Water purification tablets.

Medical and sanitation supplies- Extra supplies of medications, Prescriptions and details for all medications, Extra toiletry and sanitary supplies, sunscreen and insect repellant

Tools, communications and supplies - Wide masking tape for windows, Wrench or pliers to turn off all utilities, Tent and tarpaulin, Woollen and thermal blankets, A mobile phone, spare battery and charger

Clothing and footwear - Change of clothes for everyone, in stored plastic bags, Spare clothing and bedding

Miscellaneous items - Extra supplies for infants (extra formula, nappies etc.), Extra supplies for the elderly or people with special needs, Spare cash (you may not be able to access electronic bank tellers (ATMs) due to power failures), Pet provisions and information (e.g. vet papers, leash, water and food, collars with identification tag, pet beds, litter pan and scooper, carrier or harness and medication)

In a major emergency, there may be extended interruptions to power and water supplies. The following items are recommended - Barbeque or portable stove with fuel, fully charged batteries for mobile phones, Spare batteries for torch and radio, Esky or gas / battery powered refrigerator

It seems quite a lot but it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when challenging Mother Nature, so to all my family and friends in that area of Oz, get your best outdoors clothes ready, as it looks like you are going to need them, and stay safe.