Severe storms are often unpredictable. They can produce damaging winds, hail, lightning and flash floods which can cause major damage to property as well as serious injury and even loss of life.
Here are some simple tips to help you stay safe and reduce the potential damage to your property during a severe storm.
Preparing for a severe storm
You can do these things now to prepare your home for a severe storm.
- Prepare an Emergency Kit. This should include essential items that may be needed if you lose power or if you need to leave your home in an emergency. Include items such as a portable radio, torch, spare batteries, first aid kit, essential medication, important documents, mobile phone and car phone charger.
- Regularly check and maintain the condition of your roof, guttering etc.
- Keep gutters and downpipes clear so water can drain.
- Trim trees and branches that are too close to your house.
- Clean garden debris and identify loose objects, such as toys, garden tools and outdoor furniture, that could blow around in strong winds. These items will need to be put away or secured if a storm approaches.
- Ensure your vehicle is in good working order.
- If you receive a warning for your area, charge your mobile battery and fill up the car if possible.
As a severe storm approaches
- Charge your mobile phone.
- Place items such as medication and valuables in your Emergency Kit and keep it handy.
- Put away or secure any loose objects in your yard and on your balcony.
- Move vehicles undercover, or if not possible, cover them with firmly tied tarpaulins or blankets.
- Shelter and secure pets and animals.
- Secure all external doors and windows and draw curtains and blinds.
- Listen to your local radio station for official storm warnings.
- Check for neighbours who may need assistance.
During a severe storm
- Stay indoors, clear of windows, doors and skylights.
- If you are outdoors and can’t get to a safe building, or if you are in a vehicle, avoid high ground and try to find shelter away from tall, isolated trees, watercourses, power lines and metal constructions such as fences and picnic shelters.
- If you are driving, put your hazard lights on and pull over to the side of the road where safe.
- Avoid using landline phones and other electrical devices during a storm.
- Do not have a bath, shower or use plumbing during a storm.
- Listen to your local radio station for storm updates.
After a severe storm
- Keep listening to your local radio station for official storm updates.
- Check your windows, walls and or roof for damage.
- Stay clear of watercourses, damaged buildings, fallen trees and fallen power lines.
- Check whether your neighbours need your help.
- Do not go sight-seeing.
In the event of a flood
- If you are told to evacuate, do so as quickly as possible. Always inform someone of your whereabouts.
- Avoid driving through flood water, even if you have a 4WD.
- Unplug all affected electrical appliances and avoid using them until they’re inspected by a licensed professional.
- Don’t let children play in flood waters.
- Practise extra caution around outdoor switchboards. Wear synthetic or rubber soled shoes to protect yourself from a shock.
- Stay away from fallen powerlines — always assume they are dangerous.
- Listen to the radio for evacuation notices.
- Always follow the instructions given to you by local authorities.
- Bureau of Meteorology (BOM): http://www.bom.gov.au/
- Geoscience Australia: http://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/hazards
- SES NSW: http://www.stormsafe.com.au/
- SES VIC: https://www.ses.vic.gov.au/
- SES QLD: http://www.ses.qld.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
- SES WA: http://www.ses-wa.asn.au/
- SES TAS: http://www.ses.tas.gov.au/
- NT Police, Fire & Emergency Services: http://www.pfes.nt.gov.au/
This information is general in nature and is intended only as a guide.