Before a storm – prevent storm damage:
The Bureau of Meteorology recommends:
- Clean up outside. Even small items can become dangerous projectiles in a strong wind – not to mention the damage that heavier items could do to your windows or furniture. The BoM recommends bringing undercover or securing items such as outdoor furniture, garden tools and children’s toys. These can all become dangerous projectiles during a storm.
- Trim your trees. You can prevent damage to your home and belongings by removing overhanging branches, particularly old ones. If the branches are difficult to reach or near powerlines you will need professional help.
- Prepare supplies. Important things to include are torches, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, and any necessary medications – just in case of a prolonged power outage. Bottled water could also be a good idea, and some non-perishable food.
- Charge your mobile phone. Charge your phone and any other electronic equipment such as laptops or iPads/tablets before the storm. That way, even if the power goes down you can still make calls.
- Identify your pet. Cats and dogs often run away from home during scary storms – so many loud, frightening noises. RSPCA NSW advises that to prevent your pet ending up alone in an animal shelter, you should get your pet microchipped, and have clear identification on their collar. The BoM says to bring your pets inside if a storm is brewing.
It could also be a good idea to check your insurance coverage.
During the storm – what to do in a storm:
The BoM says severe weather can impact all parts of Australia, and that storms can happen anywhere at anytime. It gives this advice:
- Stay inside. Unless the authorities tell you otherwise, the safest place for you to be during a storm is safe and sound in your home. Do not be outside during a thunderstorm or hailstorm if you can help it, but if you must be outside, the safest place to be is inside a vehicle or under other non-metal shelter such as a concrete building. The BoM also recommends staying clear of clear of windows, doors and skylights; don’t use a fixed telephone during a thunderstorm due to lightning danger, and; avoid touching brick or concrete, or standing bare-footed on concrete or tiled floors.
- Lightning safety. Turn off all electrical devices at the switch and unplug them. Close windows and doors. During a thunderstorm, do not take a bath, as both water and metal are good electrical conductors.
- Listen for announcements. Keep your radio on and tuned to your local station so that you can hear all important information. You could also check the Bureau’s website – bom.gov.au – or app for any updates.
After the storm:
- Flood safety. The BoM says if you are caught outdoors during a storm, don’t drive into water flowing over roads as it can be deceptively deep and dangerous. Don’t drive, walk, ride or swin through flood waters. If there is flooding, it could be a good idea to follow a Flood Checklist for staying safe around floodwaters.
- Watch out for fallen power lines. After the storm, be careful when going outside. Powerlines may have been downed in the storm and they can be deadly. Call Triple Zero (000) and report fallen power lines.
- Contact your insurance company. Phone your insurance company when you can, to inform them of the damage and begin the claims process. Take as many photos of the damage as you can, and provide them along with your insurance claim as proof.