According to a recent report by NRMA Insurance, almost half of NSW homeowners are not prepared for severe storms. Why?
Perhaps as the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) has called out, "of all the major types of natural disaster which can occur in New South Wales, severe thunderstorms have probably the lowest profile in the public mind". "Yet thunderstorm activity is common in NSW and it's undeniable that storms are both costly and dangerous - only floods cause greater monetary losses."
Small changes = big difference
With many reports saying we face a stormier future due to climate change and extreme weather events possibly happening more often, the message is - take storms seriously.
NRMA Insurance's spokeswoman urged everyone to look at ways they can prepare in the event of a storm.
“Severe weather can strike at any time and preparation is key to limiting damage,” she said.
“Our latest NRMA Insurance research shows nearly half of all NSW homeowners (46%) have not taken enough measures to prepare their home for storm season. Little acts like trimming branches, clearing your gutters and securing loose items in your garden or balcony can make a big difference when severe weather strikes."
For more information on how to prepare your home for severe weather NRMA Insurance has put together this quick before, during and after storm guide.
1. Before a storm
• Clean gutters and downpipes and check the roof for leaks
• Sweep debris away from drains and clear any that are blocked
• Trim tree branches near the house (after checking with your local council)
• 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
2. If a storm is coming
• Remove loose objects that might get broken or cause damage if blown around
• Tie down, take inside, or fill with water, large, relatively light things like garbage bins and boats to stop them being blown around
• Shelter and secure your pets
• Shelter vehicles or cover them with a tarpaulin or blankets - make sure you have a full tank of fuel in case you need and are able to, evacuate
• If floods are likely move outdoor equipment, cardboard boxes, garbage, chemicals and poisons to somewhere up high
• Fill your sinks and bath with fresh drinking water
• Check your emergency kit (see the SES kit list)
• If flooding is likely, put furniture, TV, rugs, books and art as high as you can.
3. During the storm
The priority is to keep yourself, your family and pets safe during the storm.
Learn more about what you can do to help protect your family at www.stormsafe.com.au.
4. After the storm
• Check your home for damage to windows, walls or roof. If you need to make a claim contact us on the numbers above
• If you need emergency assistance call your local State Emergency Service on 132 500
• 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 got wet, have them and gas appliances professionally tested as soon as possible
Remember - in severe weather, some damage to your property can happen no matter how well you have prepared - so make sure you are fully insured.