Blistering sunburn isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when things start to heat up in Australia, because the start of summer also means storm season. This can be especially dangerous for those living in Australia’s tropical top end. Storm season doesn’t just threaten to damage our physical belongings or destroy our homes; it can put our personal safety in jeopardy. Dangerous storms are the most common natural hazard in Australia and cause more damage on average than cyclones, earthquakes, and bushfires! Thunderstorms, lightning strikes, heavy rain, hailstorms, power-outages and strong winds can wreak havoc on our daily lives, especially those who live in areas such as Queensland; so what’s the best way to make sure you and your home both stay safe this storm season?
- An emergency preparation and evacuation plan that covers your area’s emergency protocols, like where your community’s evacuation shelters are located and the best routes to get there. Create an action plan for your family in advance and ensure everyone is informed of what to do in case of an emergency. However, remember to always follow the instructions provided by your local emergency services, whether they are to evacuate the area before the storm hits, or to stay indoors away from windows and turn off electricity or gas supplies until otherwise notified.
- The upkeep of general household maintenance, such as ensuring that the roof of your home is in good condition, trees are trimmed of overhanging branches, the drain pipes and gutters are cleared of debris, and that your backyard items and garden furniture are safely secured. If you live in a high-risk area, consider installing shutters or metal screens on windows and doors.
- A fully stocked first aid kit that contains a reasonable supply of your family’s essential prescribed medications and a basic first aid manual are vital in case of a medical emergency.
- A portable battery-operated radio (with working batteries) so you can stay regularly informed of changes to your situation by emergency broadcasts. Always keep an up-to-date list of emergency contact numbers and a mobile phone and charger at the ready. It’s a good idea to have a car charger for you phone as well, just in case the power goes out.
- Don’t forget plenty of LED or battery-powered lanterns and torches, and lots of spare batteries (in different sizes) in case of power-outages!
- A pre-packed waterproof bag with spare clothing, wet weather gear, and sturdy shoes. Store valuables and important documents, like passports, certificates and insurance information, in small waterproof satchels and pack them with the bag in advance. Remember to keep the bag in a safe place, somewhere high, dry and well out of harm’s way.
- Make sure you have a good supply of non-perishable food and fresh water. It’s a good idea to fill up buckets, sinks and baths with fresh water whenever a severe weather warning has been issued, just in case of disruptions to your local water supply.
Of course, in addition to following the above checklist, it’s also important to prepare for storm season by having the right home and contents insurance for the area you live in, especially in high-risk areas. Did you know your level of cover to major events such as storms depends on the kind of policy you have taken out?
It’s crucial to always check the Product Disclosure Statement for your policy, so you understand what is and isn’t covered. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to compare providers to make sure your family is getting the best possible protection before this storm season threatens more than just your wallet.