Bushfires don't just damage buildings, they can also disrupt access to power, gas, water and communications, even in communities not directly affected by the flames.
Then there's heatwaves, floods and storms that are becoming an increasing part of the Australian summer.
Imagine not being able to cook, no running water, no refrigeration (therefore no food) and no light after dark.
With a horror bushfire and heatwave season apparently ahead, it's worth making contingency plans.
Following are some of the emergency survival tips from utility and emergency services.
Telstra has posted the following tips on its website for staying connected in a disaster.
Fixed line phones
Consider using a standard fixed line phone that may be more likely to continue to operate insituations of power outage.
Always have a spare, fully charged battery on stand-by and carry additional mobile phone chargers. An in-car and a separate AC mains charger are essential in case of evacuation
Keep essential numbers close
Have a list of essential contact numbers close at hand, including local police, fire, SES and Telstra’s fault line, 132203.
Use Triple Zero (000) appropriately
Only call Triple Zero when a situation is threatening life or property, or if it’s time critical. If your situation is not time critical but requires the attention of an emergency services organisation, you should call an alternate emergency services number.
Keep calls to a minimum
Although Telstra monitors the network closely in times of emergency to try and minimise congestion, keep calls to a minimum during natural disasters to allow people to call emergency service organisations.
Back-up your data
Keep information safely away from home or your place of business and think about cloud-based storage solutions.
The NSW Rural Fire Service has a plethora of bushfire preparation and survival information.
It's website emphasises three steps: Prepare. Act. Survive.
The site states that a Bushfire Survival Plan was one of the best ways to help improve personal safety before the impact of, or during a bush fire.
''Preparation is not just about cleaning up around the house and having a plan. It is also about making sure you consider your physical, mental and emotional preparedness,'' the site states.
''Regardless of your decision to Leave Early or Stay and Defend, you still need to prepare your property against the threat of a bushfire.''
The site has checklists and a template bushfire survival plan for people to use.
The NSW State Emergency Service has flood safe and storm safe links on its website, as well as a checklist for an emergency kit.
An emergency kit can help save time if people need to leave their house in a hurry as well as items that may be needed if there is no power or water.
The SES recommends having the following items in a portable waterproof container.
A portable radio with spare batteries, torch with spare batteries, first aid kit, candles and waterproof matches, important papers including emergency contact numbers, a copy of the household's emergency plans, a waterproof bag for valuables.
When leaving or evacuating during an emergency add the following items to the kit: regular medications, any special requirements and supplies for babies, the disabled, infirm and/or elderly, appropriate clothing and footwear, fresh food and drinking water.
Visit ses.nsw.gov.au/communitysafety/emergencykit for details.