Understanding natural disasters such as cyclones or thunderstorms, and staying educated on their associated risks can help you prepare for the worst case scenario...
According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), there are on average 11 tropical cyclones per year across Australia. In Queensland alone, an average of 4.7 tropical cyclones per year is recorded and these form mostly from lows within the monsoon trough, between November and April. BOM defines tropical cyclones as low pressure systems that form over warm tropical waters and have gale force winds (gusts in excess of 90km/h) near the centre.
BOM defines severe thunderstorms as weather systems which produce effects including hailstones with a diameter of 2cm or more, wind gusts of 90km/h or greater, flash flooding and tornados. They're pretty scary and in NSW and the ACT alone, there are at least 100 thunderstorms per year strong enough to produce one or more of these effects.
There are many things you can do to get ready before the storm season starts that can help reduce the amount of potential damage to your property as well as minimise the risk to your family. These include:
Contact your local council
Check with your local council as to whether you live in a risky area for severe storms and if your home is built to the latest protection standards.
Install glass protectors
If you live in a storm prone area, install storm shutters or metal fly screens to any windows or glass doors on your home. This reduces the risk of shattering if the worst happens.
Clean up your garden
Clear all treetops and dead branches from the vicinity of your house. These can break off and cause damage in the event of a storm or a cyclone. You may need council or body corporate permission before you take this step.
Lock down where possible
Secure the walls, roof and eaves of your house to ensure they don't break or flap in severe winds.
Clear any loose material from the front of your house which could blow around in strong winds. We recommend also securing down any objects such as pool or BBQ furniture.
Pull down any external shutters on your house. This prevents damage to windows and increases structural stability.
In case you have to leave your house unexpectedly, pack at least one change of clothes for each individual, tinned food, a torch, radio and plenty of water
Know your hideout spot
Make sure you know the safest location in your home. This will often be a cellar or an internal hallway which is well-shielded; in many homes it's the smallest room in the house which would be your bathroom. The advantage is that bathrooms and toilets also offer access to clean water if you fill sinks/baths before the storm hits.
Fill her up
Fill your car's fuel tank early before there is panic buying. This will ensure you have enough in the tank in case you need to evacuate after the storm or cyclone.
Disconnect all electrical appliances when the storm strikes. Use a battery-powered radio to monitor for any updates regarding the storm.
Make sure you're covered
Although you can't stop a natural disaster, you can be prepared for the destruction it could wreak. Home and Contents Insurance, for example, ordinarily covers you in the event of a natural disaster. The damage done to your home can be extremely significant, and paying for the repairs yourself isn't always possible. Companies like Suncorp Insurance can not only provide you with insurance protection but also offer local customer response teams who can help you out if the worst happens. Make sure you're covered for the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home, and always take precautions against storms where possible.
Don't get swept up and caught unprepared. Get ready with these useful tips, share them with your community and make sure that you're ready for when Mother Nature knocks on your door.
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. Contact us on 13 11 55 or go to suncorp.com.au for a copy.
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