Historically, bushfires, floods, earthquakes, landslides and cyclones have caused loss of life and significant damage to property and infrastructure.
Bushfires and grassfires are common throughout Australia and are an intrinsic part of Australia's environment. They can cause billions of dollars of damage and loss of life.
A tropical cyclone is a low-pressure system which develops in the tropics and is sufficiently intense to produce sustained gale force winds of at least 63km/h. If the sustained wind reaches hurricane force of at least 118km/h the system is defined as a severe tropical cyclone.
Earthquakes in Australia are usually caused by movements along faults as a result of compression in the Earth's crust.
Every year in Australia, floods cause millions of dollars damage to buildings and critical infrastructure, such as roads and railways as well as to agricultural land and crops.
A landslide is the movement of rock, debris or earth down a slope. They result from the failure of the materials which make up the hill slope and are driven by the force of gravity.
A nuclear explosion occurs as a result of the rapid release of energy from an intentionally high-speed nuclear reaction. The driving reaction may be nuclear fission, nuclear fusion or a combination of the two.
On the Australian continent severe weather can range from isolated thunderstorms to intense low pressure systems affecting thousands of square kilometres. Large scale deep low pressure systems cause widespread flash flooding and gale to storm force winds extending over 400 to 1,000 square kilometres.
Tsunamis are associated with earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions that occur in, or adjacent to, the ocean. This usually results in the sudden movement of water.
A volcano is a vent or chimney which transfers molten rock known as magma from depth to the Earth's surface. Magma erupting from a volcano is called lava and is the material which builds up the cone surrounding the vent.
Emergency Management is represented by a range of measures which have been designed for the management of risks to communities and to the environment. It involves establishing plans, structures and arrangements to bring together the normal activities of governments with voluntary and private agencies.
The impact of a hazardous event depends on the elements at risk, such as; population or buildings and their associated vulnerability to damage or change as a result of the event. Estimating risk is an uncertain science because it involves forecasting events for which the time and the location may be largely unknown.