Storms are coming: Tips for preparing your home

THE weather in this region is great. But sometimes it's a killer.

Extreme thunderstorms, monsoonal rain, huge cyclones, flash floods, king tides and swollen rivers have swept away lives and property.

Residents need to prepare for the worst - and the best thing that can happen is that your preparation is wasted in an uneventful summer.

Here are our tips for keeping a roof over your head this storm season:

General home maintenance: 

  • Keep the roof in good condition and check it regularly.
  • Keep gutters and downpipes clear so water can drain quickly.
  • Trim trees and overhanging branches close to the house (beware powerlines).
  • Check and fix corrosion, rotten timber, termite infestations and loose fittings.

Before storm season:

  • Ensure home, contents and car insurance are current and adequate. Check your policy includes debris clean-up and removal.
  • Identify your strongest room to shelter in during a severe storm or cyclone.
  • Identify where and how to turn off main supply for water, power and gas.
  • Have items such as water storage containers, spare fuel for your vehicle (store it safely), camp stove and fuel for cooking without power.

If you live in a flood-prone area:

  • Store all poisons and garden chemicals well above ground level.
  • Identify indoor items you will need to raise or empty if flood threatens.
  • Consider alternatives to carpet and relocate power points to well above previous flood levels (using a licensed contractor).
  • Prepare your own sandbags to protect your home.

If you live in an area prone to cyclones or severe storms:

  • Arrange for a professional builder to check your building and identify ways you can increase the structural security of your home to withstand high winds.
  • Fit windows with shutters or metal screens for added protection during high winds.

When warnings are issued for a cyclone or severe storm:

  • Disconnect electrical appliances and external television / radio aerials and turn off electricity and gas main supplies if instructed to do so.
  • Secure outdoor furniture and garden items.
  • Fill buckets and bath with clean water in case of interruptions to water supply.
  • Close windows with shutters or tape windows with strong tape. Draw curtains.

When warnings are issued for flood:

  • Disconnect all your electrical appliances.
  • Move outdoor equipment, garbage, chemicals and household poisons to a higher location.
  • Empty and raise freezers / refrigerators and stack or move your furniture, valuables and electrical items offsite.
  • Sandbag internal drains and toilets to prevent sewage backflow.
  • Move livestock, plant and feed to higher ground.