Understanding severe weather conditions
Prepare an essential emergency kit and practice an emergency plan to ensure household members know what to do in the event of extreme weather conditions.
Hailstorms and high winds
Stay inside and close all windows and doors. Find refuge in a small interior room, stairwell or the lowest floor of the building. Make sure family members are safe and accounted for, including pets. Stay clear of glass windows, doors and exterior walls.
If outside, seek shelter in a building or lie flat in a low dry ravine or ditch under a low bridge – don’t shelter in a car or caravan. Protect your head and hang on to a base of a shrub or small tree. Don’t try to outrun high winds or a cyclone.
Remain indoors and stay clear of windows, doors and fireplaces. Make sure all windows and doors are securely shut. Unplug all electrical appliances and don’t use telephones (either a landline or mobile) during the storm. Both water and metal are electrical conductors so make sure you don’t take a bath or touch electrical equipment during a lightning storm.
If outside, seek shelter in a building or vehicle. When there is no available shelter, crouch down, feet close together and keep your head tucked down. If you’re in a group, spread out several metres apart. Discard umbrellas, golf clubs and don't stand under trees or poles.
A flash flood is a violent and sudden flood. If you’re at home, get as high as you can and stay clear of windows or glass doors.
If you’re outside, find refuge as high as possible and call emergency services for help. When driving a vehicle, turn on hazard lights and pull over to the side of the road. Keep clear of causeways, streams, creeks, drains, trees and power lines.
If the flood water has risen around your car but the water isn’t moving, get out and move to higher ground. Don’t enter moving water.
General tips for keeping safe in severe weather situations…
Follow these important steps:
- Check for immediate danger - if there is call emergency services
- Listen to your local radio for updates
- You should ideally already have your emergency kit ready to go, including important items and documents
- Locate your closest exit with a clear passage outside
- Share information and make sure you have a meeting place for household members outside the home if you can
- Dress in protective clothing and eye wear
- Organise pets and animals
- Disconnect appliances and unplug equipment
- Never travel through floodwater, stay clear of creeks, streams, drains, causeways, gutters, fallen trees, power lines and damaged buildings.
Check your insurance
When planning for severe weather, make sure your home and contents insurance is up-to-date and the sum insured amount is enough. It’s a good idea to have your insurer’s details in your emergency kit, so you’ll be able to contact them in a hurry if you need to.