Natural disaster resources


The department is committed to supporting Queenslanders affected by natural disasters and provides a range of resources to assist students, staff and parents prior to, during and after a natural disaster.

When developing these resources, the department liaised with national experts including: Professor Brett McDermott, who is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and expert in emotional trauma in children following large scale disasters; Dr Rob Gordon, a clinical psychologist with many years experience in advising on disaster related matters; and Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, who is a leading child and adolescent psychologist.

Departmental procedures

The disaster and emergency management procedure outlines the responsibilities of staff in state schools and departmental workplaces when responding to a natural disaster or emergency event.

School closures and student absences

Information about school closures as a result of an emergency or natural disaster can be found on the department's website.

Schools and parents should note that absences recorded as a result of an extreme weather event or natural disaster (DOC, 184KB) are not counted on a student's report card nor in the school's absence data.

Resources for parents

Children can be particularly affected by a disaster and each child will respond to the event in a different way. The following resources may assist parents and caregivers in reducing their child's fears and help them move on following the crisis.

Looking After Yourself and Your Family After a Disaster (PDF, 6.1MB)  is a resource jointly developed by the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, Australian Red Cross and beyondblue. The resource is targeted at adults and contains practical advice, links to articles and contact details for support services that may be able to provide assistance following a disaster.

The Queensland Government' Emergency services and safety website includes practical advice on preparing for and managing during a natural disaster.

The Queensland Government has also developed the Coping in a Crisis factsheets. These resources may help families understand social and emotional reactions to crisis, support their responses to traumatic events and assist with their recovery. The factsheet topics include:

The departmental factsheet Emotional responses by children affected by natural disasters (DOC, 217KB) provides information for parents about children's possible emotional reactions following a natural disaster.

Strategies for parents - children affected by natural disasters (DOC, 217KB) developed by the department provides strategies for parents to use when talking to and supporting their children during a natural disaster.

The Australian Psychological Society has also developed the resource Looking after children who have been affected by floods (PDF, 59KB). This resource provides parents and carers with information on the impacts of trauma on children and how parents can help children recover.

KidsMatter, which is the Australian Primary Schools Mental Health Initiative, has developed the Coping with fears and worries factsheet (PDF, 391KB), which provides strategies and examples of ways parents and carers can help children cope with their fears.

headspace has also developed the resource After a natural disaster (PDF, 259KB) which provides information for parents, family members and friends about common reactions to a natural disaster and how to help a young person.

The Trauma, Loss and Grief Network's resource Talking to children and young people about trauma (PDF, 85KB) provides information about talking to children about trauma.

Preparing for dangerous weather - Do your kids feel safe?

A number of resources provide important tips for young people and parents to provide information and support during the dangerous weather season. With the dangerous weather season upon us, this timely information can help with children's anxiety about the weather and the upcoming anniversaries.

Resources for young people

The Australian Red Cross' After the emergency website contains an online suite of multimedia resources to support young people following an emergency. The suite of resources includes podcasts, videos and links to other sites and resources.

The Mater Young Adult Health Centre Brisbane's Youth Natural Disaster Recovery website provides help and support for young people who have experienced a natural disaster. The website also provides information for friends, parents and teachers who are often the first people to notice that a young person is having difficulties after a natural disaster.

headspace has also developed information to help young people understand and manage Trauma (PDF, 137KB) after a stressful event. The resource provides information on the effects of trauma and where to go for help.

Last updated 06 February 2019