How to prepare for a storm

By Dan Hatch

3 minutes

22 May 2020

Woman in a yellow jacket on a stormy beach looking up

Ever been caught out by a storm? Severe weather can come unexpectedly, and what you do now can make a big difference when it hits.

To help you get prepared, we’ve put together a bit of friendly advice.

  1. Before a storm

  2. Remember - in severe weather, damage to your property can occur no matter how well you’ve prepared.

    The Australian Red Cross have some great information and tools for you and your family to assess your risk and create a plan. Download the Get Prepared app to have your plan in your pocket.

    Steps you can take to prepare your property include:

    • Cleaning your gutters and downpipes
    • Checking the roof for leaks
    • Sweeping debris away from drains and clearing any that are blocked
    • Trimming tree branches near your house
    • If you live in a cyclone-prone area, it's a good idea to fit permanent shutters or metal screens to glass windows and doors.
  3. If a storm is coming

  4. If a storm is already on the way, revisit your emergency plan and make sure everyone on your property knows what to do.

    If it’s still safe to do so:

    • Remove loose objects that might get broken or cause damage if blown around
    • Tie down, take inside, or fill with water any large, relatively light things like garbage bins and boats. This will stop them being blown around
    • Shelter and secure your pets
    • Protect vehicles or cover them with a tarpaulin or blankets
    • Make sure you have a full tank of fuel just in case you need, and are able to, evacuate
    • Fill your sinks and bath with fresh drinking water
    • Check your emergency kit (find your recommended SES kit here)

    If floods are likely:

    • Move outdoor equipment, cardboard boxes, garbage, chemicals and poisons to somewhere high up
    • Move furniture, TV, rugs, books and art as high up as you can.
  5. During the storm

  6. A severe storm can be a frightening experience. Remember, the top priority is to keep yourself, your family and your pets safe.

    Follow your emergency plan and look after one another. If you’re unsure of what to do or who to call, check your state’s emergency services website.

    Some handy numbers to have saved in your phone are:

    • 000 – Police, fire or ambulance
    • 132 500 – State Emergency Services (SES)
  7. After the storm

  8. Once the storm is over and it’s safe to leave your house or return to your property, you can start to assess the damage:

    • Check your home for damage to windows, walls or roof. If you need to make a home insurance claim, contact HBF on 1300 559 867. If you need emergency assistance, call your local State Emergency Service by visiting the Emergency Alert website and selecting your relevant state.
    • If returning to your home, make sure electricity and gas are off before going inside. If you need light, only use a torch until you're sure there's no gas around
    • Remove what excess water you can and mop waterlogged carpets
    • Throw out food that's been in contact with floodwater and boil water until supplies have been declared safe
    • Check your smoke detectors are still working
    • Don't use electrical items that are wet. Have these and all gas appliances professionally tested as soon as possible.

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Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 AFSL 227681 (IAL), trading as CGU Insurance. For full policy details please refer to the Fundamentals Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Listed Events Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Accidental Damage Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Landlords Insurance Statement (PDS) which can be obtained by calling HBF on 133 423. This is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances. You should consider the PDS and your personal circumstances in deciding whether to buy or hold these products. HBF Health Limited ABN 11 126 884 786 AR No. 406073 (HBF Health), is an authorised representative of IAL. Please read the Financial Services Guide (FSG) before applying for an HBF General Insurance product.