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Australian Storms Preparation Guide

Severe and unpredictable, Australian storms often catch us by surprise. Knowing how to prepare for a storm and having your storm safety plan ready for action can make a difference to you and your family.

September 2020 – 4 minute read

What’s in this article:

  • How to prepare for a storm
  • Get your property ready for Australian storms
  • What is a storm surge


 

fallen tree after a storm causing damage and danger

Tropical storm, thunderstorm, hurricane, cyclone, hailstorm, these describe what most Australians see as typical examples of a storm.


Being prepared physically and emotionally, including having your insurances up-to-date and the right insurance for your property, can help reduce the risks for you and your family.

How to prepare for a storm

Have a storm safety plan ready for what to do once you find out a storm is heading your way. Whether you’re going to stay in your home or evacuate to a safer area, it’s essential that you know your evacuation routes, know who to contact for help and information, and have made a decision on where to meet safely. This may mean having more than one meeting place.


Here are some storm safety tips.

1) Have a plan – and make sure everyone knows it

Storms move on their own timetable, so there’s a chance not everyone in your household will be together should one hit. Have a plan for how you’ll get in touch and where you can meet up. Just as important – make sure all members of your household know the plan.

2) Have an emergency kit that’s ready to go

When a storm hits, you might not get a chance to get any emergency supplies together, so the best time to get it sorted is now. Your emergency kit should contain all the necessary items you’d need should your power or water supply get cut off, or should you need to evacuate in a hurry. Make sure everything you need including proof of your identity is all stored in a watertight, easy to pick-up container.
 

To help organise yourself and your family’s - including pets - emergency needs, download our comprehensive Emergency Checklist:

Emergency checklist (PDF 1MB)

Get your property ready for Australian storms

Early preparation can help save lives and reduce property damage and loss. Here are a few key steps for how to prepare for a storm.

1) Get your garden ready

If a storm hits, anything can become a potential missile – from garden furniture and garbage bins to the kids’ trampoline. Take a walk around your property and identify anything that would need to be tied down or moved inside should a severe storm hit. If you’re heading away on holiday, make sure you’re prepared should a storm hit while you’re away.

2) Check the roof

Make a point of checking your roof every year and act on any needed repairs straight away (think broken or cracked tiles). Check inside your roof space to see if there is any damage to insulation and the structure from water, for example. If you can see light shining through, there’s a good chance there’s a leak. You should also check your roof for damage after any major weather events, such as hailstorms.

3) Clear out gutters and drains

It’s vital you keep gutters and downpipes clear as any overflow caused by a blockage could overflow into the roof. Back on ground level, make sure any drains are kept clear as well – if they’ve been covered up with pot plants (as often happens in courtyards), move them out of the way if heavy rain is on the way.

4) Trim or remove potentially dangerous trees

Strong winds can tear off branches and topple or uproot trees. Are there any potentially dangerous trees near your place? If so, first up you’ll need to check with your local council about any guidelines and necessary consent forms to trim or remove any trees. Once you’ve checked in with council and obtain the permission you need (if any), get a qualified arborist to trim or remove the trees as required.

If a storm is on the way, make sure you park your car away from trees.

5) Make sure your insurance is up to date

Do you have adequate insurance? Check that you’ve got the right type of insurance and that it covers the natural disaster events that could happen in your location. Review your insurance regularly and ensure the amount insured will cover the cost to rebuild or replace your possessions.  These could include storm water runoffs, flash flooding and damage caused by fallen trees, hail damage, fires and storm surges.

What is a storm surge

Many of us in Australia live on the coastal fringe and may have seen in the news the damage that can be caused by a storm surge. A storm surge is the rising of the sea level due to the low pressure and high waves associated with a hurricane as it makes landfall. These surges can cause significant flooding and bring about coastal erosion, both natural hazards are dangerous and often unexpected and have become increasingly more common in recent years.

 

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Things you should know

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