Damaging winds, flash floods, lighting, hail and tornados can cause extreme damage to homes, cars and the environment. Sometimes, these storms can even cause injury or loss of life. Storm preparation can help you stay safe and reduce damage potential.
Most storm damage to homes happen due to the following:
- Loose and broken roof materials
- Fallen trees and branches
- Flooding from blocked gutters and downpipes
What is a Storm?
Before learning how to prepare for a storm, you first need to know what exactly defines a storm. Storms develop when humid, warm air near the ground is pushed rapidly upward into the unstable atmosphere.
How to Prepare
Overall, preparing is your responsibility. Living in a storm prone area makes safety preparation a priority.
Inside and outside of your house, there are a few simple storm preparation steps to help minimise damage:
- Check roof and gutters for damage or loose materials.
- Clear gutters and downpipes of leaves and blockages.
- Trim branches near your home and hire a contractor to clear trees from powerlines.
- Prepare an emergency kit with portable radios, torches, spare batteries, a first aid kit and family emergency plan.
- Prepare an emergency relocation plan in case your home becomes flooded. Consider options for pets, gather water and know how to turn off the gas and electricity.
- Display a list of emergency phone numbers.
- Check you have adequate home and contents insurance.
When a Storm is Forecast
- Secure or remove loose material and rubbish from around your home because strong winds can turn objects into potentially deadly missiles.
- Weigh down loose objects using plastic bags filled with sand, rather than bricks that could be blown around during strong winds.
- Ensure your emergency kit and plan is up to date.
- Ensure pets and animals are in a safe area.
- Move your vehicles under protected cover.
- Boat owners should ensure their boats are securely moored.
- Campers should find alternative shelter.
- If you are away from home, contact family and friends to ensure your home is secure.
During a Storm
- Close your curtains and stay away form windows.
- If caught outside, seek shelter away from trees, powerlines, metal objects, storm water drains, rivers and streams.
- Where there is lightning, unplug electrical appliances and do not use landline telephones.
- Create your own sandbags by using plastic bags or pillowcases filled with sand if there is flooding.
- When driving in heavy rain, take extra care on the roads.
After the Storm
- Assess your home and property for damage.
- Check on friends and neighbours to see if they need help.
- Keep children away from fallen powerlines as they are dangerous and should always be treated as live.
- Be careful of fallen trees and damaged buildings.
- If roads are flooded, do not drive into water of unknown depth and current.
- Avoid gravel roads as surfaces will be slippery and muddy, and vehicles could become bogged.
- Start cleaning up around your home. Stack loose materials such as branches and debris away from water meters valves and telephone lines.
- Call your local government to get advice about the removal of green waste and other materials such as asbestos fencing.