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How to Prepare for a Cyclone in Australia

There have been many devastating cyclones in Australia over the years, with destructive winds causing extensive property damage.

September 2020 – 3 minute read

What’s in this article:

  • Preparing your home
  • What to do when a cyclone warning is issued
  • What to do during a severe tropical cyclone
  • What happens after a cyclone


fallen tree from cyclone

Being prepared for the cyclone season well in advance can go a long way to help protect your home during a tropical cyclone.

Preparing your home

While we can’t control the weather, there are things you can do to help reduce potential damage from a tropical cyclone in Australia.

  • Check your home is built to cyclone standards with your local council.
  • Secure loose roof tiles and guttering.
  • Trim trees and branches near your home.
  • Make sure all shutters and metal screens are secure.
  • Clear loose material around your home such as ladders, lawnmowers, bikes and children’s toys.
  • Download the emergency checklist (PDF 1MB).

When a cyclone warning is issued:

  • Listen to your local radio for updates and instructions.
  • Wear protective clothing and make sure you re-check around your home for loose material.
  • Get your emergency kit and ensure everyone knows where the strongest part of the home is.
  • Collect your children from school if instructed by officials.
  • Make sure you bring in pets from outside.
  • Turn off electricity and gas at the mains.
  • Advise neighbours of the cyclone warning.
  • Fill baths, sinks and buckets with water in the event water supplies are impacted.
  • Close windows and doors securely.

During a severe tropical cyclone

Find the best shelter, such as a stairwell or a room with walls reinforced with pipes on the lowest floor of the building. Stay clear of windows and glass doors. Listen to the local radio for alerts of high winds or a tornado and disconnect all appliances.

If the building starts to break up, protect yourself with a rug, blanket, mattress or shelter under a bench or table.

If you’re outside, find cover away from the wind and protect your head. If you’re inside a vehicle, keep your face away from windows and make sure you have the hand brake on. You should also park away from trees and power lines.

If you need to evacuate

  • Make sure you act immediately and find a public shelter that is inland or on higher ground.  Lock doors and windows on the way out.
  • Wear protective clothing and strong footwear.
  • Take your emergency kit with you.
  • If you can’t take your pets, make sure they’re in a safe place inside the property with food and water (don’t tie them up).

After the cyclone

Always wait for the all clear from emergency services and don’t assume the danger has passed – as you may in fact be in the eye of a tropical cyclone. If you have evacuated your property, don’t return until you have an official all clear.

When returning to your home:

  • Check for any gas leaks.
  • Don’t use any electrical equipment if wet.
  • Boil or purify water with tablets and check with authorities if water has been declared safe.
  • Stay clear of damaged power lines, trees and floodwater.

Check your insurance

Make sure your home and contents insurance is up-to-date and is reviewed regularly to check it still meets your needs. Make sure you consider what it would cost to rebuild your home or replace your possessions when reviewing your cover. And make sure you have your insurer’s details in your emergency kit checklist, so you can contact them if you need to.


Download the emergency checklist:

Emergency checklist (PDF 1MB)


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