BEFORE THE STORM: Are You Ready This Cyclone Season?
We’ve got your definitive safety and readiness checklist to go through before cyclone season is in town. Save it, print it out, or even stick on the fridge to make sure you’ve got everything covered.
- Are your gutters, downpipes, and storm water drains clear of leaves and other matter?
- Do you have an emergency kit in your home, containing items such as a first aid kit, canned food, radio, and torch, that you can access at a moment’s notice.
- Do you have emergency contact numbers, such as SES, an electrician, and insurance companies, at hand?
- Do you know the most secure place in your house to shelter during a severe storm?
- Have you checked that your insurance covers flood and storm damage?
- Have you considered a backup power plan?
- Have you signed up for severe weather alerts?
- Have you spoken to your family about how to evacuate your home in an emergency?
- Have you tidied your yard in preparation for storms, for example, by securing loose objects and trimming tree branches?
Remember – every box ticked is another level of safety added for your home, family and business.
DURING THE STORM: The storm’s here! But are you ready?
So, cyclone season is officially upon us. As you already know, safety should be an absolute primary concern; be it for your home, business, family, and self.
Here are some essential safety tips you should practice during these – pardon the pun – stormy times!
Driving and Road Safety
Roads often become flooded before water affects homes. It is important that you stay informed of local road conditions to prevent you and your family from becoming isolated.
Many drivers rescued from flood waters report that they were in a hurry to get home to safety as a reason for tempting the danger of driving into water. Regardless of the type of car and despite what car commercials show, driving into flood waters is an absolute no-no.
Flood waters can be dangerous. Be aware of the following:
- Drowning – Ensure children do no play in or near stormwater drains. During a flood, water moves quickly through drains that may be dry for most of the year.
- Currents – Don’t walk or swim in flood waters. As little as 15cm of moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Electrocution – Stay clear of fallen powerlines and electrical wires. Electricity passes easily through water.
- Contamination – Wash your hands and feet with soap if you do come into contact with flood water. Sewage or chemicals can be found in flood water.
- Slipping – Tread carefully. Slippery surfaces can cause falls and injuries.
- Wildlife – Be aware that there may be displaced and stressed wildlife inside your home and yard. Wildlife lose their homes in flood too.
It is natural to want to stay and protect your home and valuables. In times of emergency, the State Emergency Service (SES) will provide assistance and support, including sandbags, to help you protect your property.
However, as flood waters rise, dangers increase and evacuation may be required. Before you evacuate, remind your family or other household members of your central contact point in case you get separated. Make sure each household member has important phone numbers with them.
Who to contact if you are affected:
- Life threatening emergencies (Police/Fire/Ambulance) – 000 (mobiles 000 and 112)
- State Emergency Services (SES) – 132 500
- Energex – 13 19 62
- Brisbane City Council – 07 3403 8888
- Red Cross Register. Find. Reunite. system – once you have registered, it will help your friends and family locate you
AFTER THE STORM: Cyclone season may be over but are you safe yet?
Time to finally enjoy a chilled stubby in the backyard… right after you get every box on this checklist ticked. The skies may be clear, but you need to make sure your home and business are always safe.
- Check your home and property for damage.
- Keep clear of damaged buildings, powerlines and trees.
- Be aware of road hazards such as floodwater, debris and damaged roads or bridges.
- Do not drive through affected areas unless it is necessary.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
- Stay out of any building that has water around it. Inspect your home for damage.
- Take pictures of damage—both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
- Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it is not contaminated. Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out. Avoid this with a backup generator.
- Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
- Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Be careful about entering flooded basements—there is a risk of electrocution.
- Do not climb on roofs to make repairs—consult a professional.
- If electrical equipment was affected by water, do not attempt to start up the equipment. Seek the advice of a professional. This includes computers, appliances, water heaters, and other electronics.
All done? You’ve earned yourself a day out with the family. Be sure to check with us every cyclone season for safety tips, checklists, and advice on how to barrel through the storm with zero to minimal damage.