Australia is no stranger to wild weather and storms are one the most common natural hazards in Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) recently issued their severe weather long-range forecast and are urging communities to prepare now for storms, cyclones, and flooding, it includes:
- Normal risk of severe thunderstorms
- An increased risk of an above average number of tropical cyclones and tropical lows
- An increased risk of widespread flooding for eastern and northern Australia
This season the BOM state we have a greater than 70 per cent chance of at least 11 tropical cyclones, which is the long-term average impacting the Australian region. This is due to the influence of the La Niña. The BOM and several Governments agencies are echoing the call of “Be Prepared”, and to assist you to get prepared and protect you as much as possible we have provided storm tips, cyclone tips and flooding tips plus useful websites.
According to the SES, there are nine things you can do now to prepare your home and reduce the potential damage caused by severe storms:
- Secure loose items in your yard
- Clear your gutters, downpipes and drains to prevent blockages
- Trim trees and branches that could fall on your home or property
- Fix any damage to your roof
- Check your insurance policy is current and covers you for storm damage
- Make an emergency plan for your family that explains what you would do in an emergency
- Store important documents in a bolted safety deposit box in an interior cabinet
- Put together an Emergency Kit, including a battery-powered radio, torch and spare batteries
- Check local media for information, updates and advice
In addition to the tips for storms, for cyclones it is recommended:
- Agree on a household cyclone plan
- Identify which room is the strongest part of the house in case you need to take shelter
- Identify where and how to turn off the mains supply for water, electricity and gas
- Purchase emergency equipment such as containers to store drinking water, extra fuel supplies, wide masking tape for windows, hessian bags for sandbags
- Consider fitting windows with shutters or metal screens for added protection during high winds
- Know the cyclone alerts and warning colours and what they mean and what action to take
- In case of a storm surge/tide warning, or other flooding, know your nearest safe high ground and the safest access route to it
- Fill baths, sinks and buckets with water in the event water supplies are impacted
- If you have to evacuate wear strong shoes, lock doors, turn gas, water and electricity off and unplug appliances
In addition to the storm tips, for flooding it is recommended:
- Try to gather emergency supplies, including non-perishable food and water. Store at least 2 litres of drinking water per day for each person and each pet. Store at least a 3-day supply.
- Have immunisation records handy (or know the year of your last tetanus shot). Store immunisation records in a waterproof container
- If you need to evacuate, turn off water, gas and electricity and close the gas valve
- Don’t drive in flooded areas, cars can be swept away in moving water or damaged
- When in doubt with food, throw it out
- If you must enter floodwaters, wear enclosed shoes and check the depth with a stick
- When returning make sure electricity and gas are off
Insurance and Floods
How to ensure you’ve minimised your risk:
- Check that you have home building and contents insurance that your policy is up-to-date and includes cover for flood and/or other types of water damage which may occur, such as storm surge.
- Each policy may have slightly different wording and cover, so if you’re unsure, contact your insurer to check what you are covered for.
- Check that you have appropriate insurances in place for any vehicles, boats or caravans that may be on your property.
- Use an online insurance calculator as a guide to help you decide how much to insure your house and contents for.
- Check whether you are adequately covered for ‘removal of debris’ (clean-up costs after a flood).
- Check that your insurance policy covers you for temporary accommodation in case you can’t live in your home.
- If you’re a small business, check if you are covered for the costs of interruption to your business if there is a flood.
Shortcut to Government Financial Support
In the event of a flood or storm, you need to know how to get additional support quickly. The Government offers many grants for natural disasters including floods and storms, for individuals and families based on your state.
National – Severe Weather Long Range Forecast 2022-2023 – BOM
National – How to Make an Emergency Kit – Red Cross
QLD – Preparing for Cyclones – Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
QLD – Cyclone and Storms – Understand Your Risk – Queensland Government
NSW – Things you can do before a flood – NSW SES
NSW – Safety during and after floods and storms – NSW Health
VIC – Understand the Warnings Levels – Emergency Vic
WA – How to Prepare for a Cyclone – Department of Fire and Emergency WA
SA – Be Prepared for a Storm – SES South Australia
General Advice Warning: To the extent that any material in this document may be considered advice, it does not take into account your objectives, needs or financial situation. You should consider whether this advice is appropriate for you and review any relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Financial Services Guide (FSG) and policy wording before taking out an insurance policy.