How to Prepare For a Storm

How to Prepare For a Storm

If you and your family were isolated by a severe storm or flood, would you have enough food and water for three or more days? What if there was no power or access to telecommunications?

If you’re unsure of the answers to these questions, please take the time to complete our emergency preparation steps to help you prepare for a major storm.

STEP 1 – Create Your Home Emergency Plan

A Household Emergency Plan is vital in ensuring you and your family know what to do during and after a severe storm. Every member of your household should be involved in developing your Home Emergency Plan, discussing things such as:

  • How a severe storm could impact your home
  • The location of exit points in the house
  • Where to go if you need to evacuate
  • How to stay in contact if you’re separated from each other
  • Requirements for those with medical conditions or special needs
  • What to do with any pets
  • What to include in your Home Emergency Kit
  • Whether your insurance is adequate and current

– Review your Home Safety Emergency Plan on a regular basis so that everyone is familiar with what to do if a major storm occurs.
– Talk to your neighbours about emergency action plans to ensure people get the help they need before, during and after severe storms.

STEP 2 – Create Your Home Emergency Kit

An Emergency Kit contains essential items that you and other members of your household may need during and after a severe storm. Your emergency kit should be able to sustain you for at least three days in case essential services have been disrupted or you have been isolated by floodwater.

The following basic items should be included in your Home Emergency Kit:

  • Your Home Emergency Plan, including emergency contact numbers
  • Portable radio (with batteries or wind-up)
  • Torch (with batteries or wind-up)
  • First Aid kit
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Important documents and cash in waterproof bags
  • Essential medication
  • Special items for babies, the disabled, elderly or pets
  • Drinking water and non-perishable food for three days

If you live in an area that is prone to storms and/or floods, you may consider adding the following items to your emergency kit:

  • Mobile phone, spare battery and charger
  • Change of clothing and shoes
  • Pillows, sleeping bags and blankets
  • Toiletries
  • Camping stove or gas burner
  • Valuables, photos and mementos in waterproof bags
  • Books and games for children

– Keep your kit in a waterproof box and store it in an easy to access location.
– Check your Home Emergency Kit regularly and re-stock any out-of-date items.

STEP 3 – Prepare Your Home
There are simple things you can do to minimise the impact of storms on your home and surrounding property, as shown in the following emergency planning checklist:

General home maintenance

  • Check your roof regularly to make sure it’s in good condition
  • Keep gutters, downpipes and drains clear
  • Remove tree branches that are close to your house
  • Fix any corrosion, loose fittings and rotting or termite-affected timber
  • Secure loose items around your property
  • General home safety preparations
  • Ensure your home, contents and car insurance is adequate and current
  • Identify the safest room in which to shelter during a storm
  • Learn how to safely turn off your power, water and gas
  • Keep water containers, a camping stove and fuel safely on-hand

If you live in a flood-prone area

  • Store poisons and garden chemicals well above ground level
  • Identify indoor items you’ll need to raise or empty if flood threatens
  • Relocate power points well above previous flood levels

If you live in a storm or cyclone-prone area

  • Get a professional builder to assess the structural integrity of your house
  • Fit shutters or metal screens to your windows for added protection

Do not use portable generators in enclosed spaces. They produce carbon monoxide – a colourless and odourless gas that can cause incapacitation or death.

STEP 4 – Tune Into Warnings
If a severe weather warning or storm alert has been issued for your area, it’s important to gain as much information as possible to help you prepare and protect your family and home.

To your local radio and TV station for storm warnings and weather updates

To the Bureau of Meteorology for storm alerts
To the Queensland Disaster Management website
To your local council’s website

For the Standard Emergency Warning Signal (SEWS) – this is the siren used at the beginning of storm warning announcements on radio and TV
For Emergency Alert messages on your landline and mobile phone
For warning sirens and announcements made by emergency services
For emergency services personnel who may knock on your door

Act quickly on advice given by emergency services
Ensure that every household member knows about warnings and advice
Check on neighbours and friends who may need special assistance
Shelter any pets or farm animals
Secure outdoor furniture and gardening items
Park vehicles under cover or protect with secured tarpaulins or blankets
Disconnect electrical items and turn off power, water and gas if instructed
Activate your Home Emergency Plan and get your Home Emergency Kit
Take shelter in the safest room in your house or evacuate as required