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Services Emergency Management Other Hazards

Other Hazards

Some other common hazards that may affect the community include:


An earthquake is the shaking and vibration at the surface of the Earth caused by underground movement along a fault line plane or by volcanic activity. Most earthquake casualties result from falling objects or debris when shocks damage or demolish buildings and other structures. Electricity and telephone lines, gas, sewer and water mains can also be damaged.

Earthquakes can also cause a tsunami, or a series of waves which can cross an ocean and cause extensive damage to coastal regions. In areas where there are steep slopes, vibrations resulting from earthquakes may cause landslides.

Any part of Australia could experience an earthquake and there is no accepted method to predict earthquakes. Parts of South Australia, including Adelaide and the mid-north are earthquake hazard areas with a high potential for future earthquakes. The Eden-Burnside Fault Zone (composed of several different individual faults) lies at the base of the main scarp of the Adelaide Hills. It begins around One Tree Hill in the northern suburbs and extends as an escarpment of approximately 200 metres high in a slightly curving line for about 30 kilometres before meeting the sea at Marino. This escarpment is known as the "Hills Face Zone".

For more information on earthquakes and how you can be prepared visit the SES or the Government of South Australia website.


A flood can be defined as water inundating land that is normally dry. They may result from prolonged or very heavy rainfall, severe thunderstorms, monsoonal (wet season) rains in the tropics, or tropical cyclones. Other, less common causes include dam failure, burst water main or storm surge and tsunami which both involve rapid seawater flooding. Flash floods often result when a storm moves slowly so that a small area receives most of the rain.

People who live near rivers or in low-lying coastal areas live with the greatest threat of floods. Periods of heavy rain, not necessarily in their area, can lead to rises in the water level of rivers to a point where they can no longer hold the volume of water. The Little Para River is known to be affected by rising waters and flooding.

For more information on flooding and how you can be prepared visit the SES website.


A heatwave is an extended period of abnormally and uncomfortable hot and unusually humid weather.

During the 20th century, heatwaves have caused more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard. Heatwaves can have a detrimental impact on communities. They affect many parts of everyday life such as health and wellbeing, energy and infrastructure, public transport and agriculture. They can also contribute to an increased fire risk.

For more information regarding heatwaves and the precautions you can take visit the SES website.

Severe Weather (Storms)

Severe storms (excluding tropical cyclones) can range from isolated thunderstorms that affect only a few square kilometres to intense low-pressure systems that affects thousands of square kilometres.

A severe thunderstorm is defined by the Bureau of Meteorology as one which produces:

  • hail, diameter of 2 cm or more ($2 coin size); or
  • wind gusts of 90 km/h or greater; or
  • flash floods; or
  • tornadoes, or any combination of these.

Most thunderstorms do not reach the level of intensity needed to produce these dangerous phenomena, but they all produce lightning which can cause death, injury and damage.

For more information regarding storms visit the SES or Bureau of Meteorology website.

Pandemic Influenza

(The following information was sourced from the Department of Health and Ageing website)

Influenza (flu) is a potentially life threatening illness. It is a contagious disease of the respiratory tract caused by influenza viruses. Each year, influenza causes serious infection and death around the globe, usually in the winter months (seasonal influenza).

Influenza can lead to complications and for some people: the elderly, people with poor immune systems and people with pre-existing respiratory, cardiac and endocrine disease. Influenza can be a significant disease and cause death. It can also cause the death of healthy adults and children.

An influenza pandemic occurs when:

  • a new subtype of influenza virus emerges in humans to which most people have not been previously exposed and are, therefore, highly susceptible
  • the virus causes serious disease in humans
  • the virus is easily and rapidly spread between humans, infecting large numbers of people worldwide and causing many deaths

For more information on pandemic influenza visit the Department of Health and Ageing website.

Quick Links for More Information

Floods, Storms Bureau of Meteorology
Earthquakes, Floods, Storms Geoscience Australia
Earthquakes, Heatwave Government of South Australia
General Health Health Direct Australia
Heatwave Red Cross
Earthquakes, Floods, Storms, Heatwave SES
Pandemic Influenza Department of Health and Ageing