Get Ready For Extreme Weather This Storm Season

Severe weather can affect all parts of Australia and storms can happen anywhere, at any time of year and may be accompanied by damaging winds, large hail, heavy rainfall or tornadoes. All of these phenomena can cause significant damage to homes, businesses and community infrastructure. By knowing what to do before, during and after a storm you can help reduce the effects on you, your family, home and business.

The following tips offer advice on what you should have in your emergency kit and how to stay safe before, during and after a severe weather event.

How To Prepare For Storms

Severe weather is a natural part of living in the iconic Australia climate. Every year, the country experiences severe weather and it’s important to take the time to prepare your family, pets and property.

Below are 8 simple steps to take now to prepare your home or property and minimise potential damage during a dangerous storm.

Step 1: Secure all items from your yard or balcony that could be blown around by strong winds

Severe winds can pick large or sharp items like trampolines, outdoor furniture and roofing iron sheets causing serious injuries to people and damage to cars, windows or roofs. Always secure items around your property in case of a forecast of strong winds or severe storms.

Step 2: Clear your gutters, drains and down pipes frequently to prevent blockages

It’s crucial that you ensure your gutters and down pipes are free from dirt as any blockage could cause water overflow under the eaves and into the roof cavity. Remove leaves from your roof as these may find their way into the gutters. Drains around your property should be cleared of any dirt so as to ensure surface water moves freely without pooling around your property. Sometimes pot plants around the property hide drainage grates.

Be sure to move them indoors when heavy rain is approaching. Also park your cars away from low lying drains or areas during heavy rains.

Step 3: Trim your trees and branches that could fall on your home

Confirm with your local council about existing guidelines or if need be for consent application. Keep in mind that your safety is paramount and so it’s important to seek the services of a certified and insured arborist or tree surgeon. Consider having a qualified arborist to inspect your trees every 2-3 years for any preventative measures. Also remember to park your car away from trees during times of strong winds or severe storms.

Step 4: Fix any damage to your roof including missing or broken tiles

Check your roof every year for signs of damage particularly after a major weather event such as hail storms. All broken, cracked or displaced tiles should be fixed. Buildup dirt should be cleared since it can block drainage channels under the tiles. Replace or patch any damaged roof sheeting and regularly inspect the inside of your roof space. Any light shining through may mean damaged roof or sarking (the waterproof insulation membrane).

It’s recommended that you get an expert roofer to work on your roof as it can be dangerous fixing it on your own.

Step 5: Ensure your insurance cover is current and adequate

Consider features like the type of cover i.e. contents insurance, building insurance for mortgagees and homeowners etc. Check the insurance cover level and ensure your the policy provides cover for weather events unique to your area such as flash floods, landslides or landslips, storm water runoff as well as damage to properties by falling trees.

Step 6: Create a Home Emergency Plan for your family

The Home Emergency Plan should clearly show where you will go, how you will get there, the contacts of others and any special considerations for your household. Keep in mind that storms and other natural disasters can happen at any time of day or night and so think about where your family members could be (at school, work or on the road) and how you will get in touch with them and the meeting point. Include the contacts of those you may need to seek additional support from. Let everyone in your family understand the plan and its contents well to avoid confusion on the day of the emergency.

Step 7: Prepare an emergency kit with all vital items in case of a power outage or have to leave home in a hurry

List the things you may need in case of an emergency and place them in an emergency kit kept in a strong, waterproofed container placed in an easy to access spot. The kit should include essential medications and prescriptions, emergency plans and valuable documents.

Step 8: Stay tuned to your local radio station and other media for weather updates

Your local radio will frequently broadcast warnings and other weather updates specific to your location. This information will help you identify events like flash flooding areas to avoid, road closures as well as nearest evacuation and recovery centers. Be sure to carry battery powered torches and radios as well as spare batteries.

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