Tips For Getting Your Property Cyclone Ready
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You can never be too prepared for destructive weather, especially if you reside in Far North Queensland where the wet season can bring with it heavy rain, flooding, monsoons and cyclones.
It doesn’t take much to get your property cyclone ready and by taking the time to prepare you can rest assured you have done all you can to protect your home and belongings against the weather.
Assess the property for immediate risks
Checking your immediate surroundings for risks can help mitigate the risk of damage. Some ways you can do this include:
- checking trees, particularly those near power lines, windows and exit points, for overhanging branches and ensuring they are trimmed back;
- putting away or otherwise securing loose outdoor furniture and other items including pool accessories and light pot plants which may be thrown around by strong winds;
- securing loose roof tiles and checking that gutters are securely fastened to the building; and
- clearing downpipes and gutters to ensure water can drain away easily.
Put together an emergency kit
An emergency kit should contain everything you need if you are trapped by flooding and/or you are left without access to power and/or clean water.
At a bare minimum, the kit should include:
- hessian bags and sand for sandbagging if floodwaters are threatening your home;
- a first aid kit in case of any injuries;
- petrol (if it can be stored safely);
- bottled water and non-perishable food;
- a pre-charged battery pack you can use to power your phone; and
- masking tape to secure your windows.
Have a household plan
All members of the household should know where the emergency kit is held, along with the knowledge of how to shut off the supply of water, gas and electricity in case a cyclone hits.
There should be one dedicated room on the property which is the safest room to shelter in if and when a cyclone hits. All who reside in the household should be made aware of the plan to take shelter here. Typically this room would be the one with the least amount of windows; the bathroom usually works well.
Preserve important documents
It is wise to check that your insurance is current and what you are covered for in case you need to make a claim. Keep a copy of your policy and any relevant account details handy so you can easily access them if needed. You should also store important documents such as passports, birth and marriage certificates in a waterproof container on a high shelf.
With all of the above mechanisms to protect your home in place, the last thing you need to do is act as soon as danger presents itself. As the weather turns, you should:
- ensure your car or any other vehicles are sheltered or at least moved away from trees and waterways;
- bring your pets inside;
- turn off your electricity, gas and water; and
- secure the glass of your windows with masking tape.
Once the cyclone has passed
It is vital that you remain in your safe room while the cyclone hits. You should seek information through a battery-powered radio or your smartphone if you can access the internet. You may be warned that it is time to evacuate, or you may be told to stay where you are. You should always take the advice and follow the instructions of the local authorities and emergency services.
After the cyclone hits it is wise to check your property for any damage in case you need to make an insurance claim. Capture details of any damage in photos and videos and write notes which will help support your claim.
If you find that flooding has occurred move carefully and try to avoid it as it may contain harmful microbiological organisms, mould spores and/or sewerage. You should also avoid turning on any electrical appliances that may be waterlogged and cause further damage to your property if they short circuit or cause an electrical fire.
It doesn’t take long to get your property cyclone ready, and with Far North Queensland’s wet season taking up almost half a year (around November to March each year), it is prudent to be prepared in case the worst-case scenario presents itself.