Victoria is bracing itself for another few days of winds, rain and SES call outs. While the past few days have seen many properties in Melbourne and the surrounds damaged in the wind, it is not just Victorian’s who are suddenly more concerned with protecting their homes from inclement weather. In recent weeks Tasmania has started to warm up after unseasonably heavy snow, and the people of New South Wales are recovering from a very early start to the bushfire season.
For many, the idea of seeing damage to or even losing their home to dangerous weather conditions is becoming more and more real. As spring presses on and the weather continues to fluctuate, you might find the need to know what to do should you find yourself battling the elements.
Always Be Prepared
Some weather extremes are more associated with planning than others. Planning is the only way to give yourself and your property the best chance of avoiding incident. Those familiar with ratings of high to extreme fire danger in their area, will no doubt have a fire plan, but storms, wind and flooding also require preparation. If you are expecting extreme weather, you should try and do the following:
- Park under cover where possible. If you must park in the open, try not to park under trees
- Bring your pets inside, they can become frightened, and smaller animals may be injured by debris
- If you have overhanging trees that appear high risk (dead limbs or large limbs that hang over the building), try to cut back or remove the trees when the weather is fine, to avoid damage should the weather turn sour.
- Ensure all important documents are stored in a high and safe place, off the ground
- Move chemicals, electrical equipment and poisons from off the ground
- Ensure that you and your family have somewhere high and dry to remain safe
- Leave low lying areas early, before roads and escape routes are at risk of being cut off
When House Hunting
There is some preparation that can be done before you move in to your new home, by finding out whether a specific area is prone to particular weather issues. If you are moving to a new area, search the web for news stories about wind, flood or hail damage, to see whether this has been an issue in the past.
When viewing the property always try and ask your agent and even the neighbours about their knowledge of the property flooding or suffering wind damage. If asked the right questions, your building inspector may also be able to tell you if there are signs of past flooding or advise you if the property is situated on the block in a way that might make it prone to floods.
If you do encounter extreme weather, be sure you know who to call.
The SES are available in your state on 132 500, and are on call to deal with the most severe effects of storms, and flood as well as to assist people who find themselves in danger. They can be particularly busy during these times and will attend to matters by the level of threat that they posed to continued safety. Downed trees and power lines, particularly those that impose further danger to people, are dealt with by the SES.
In case of fire, the fire authorities in your state are always on hand should you find your property at risk. Your local ABC radio station as well as the various fire authority social media assets will provide constant updates of conditions and developments during these times.
Finally, you should always have your insurance information on hand and be sure that you are familiar with the coverage terms, particularly surrounding flooding. Depending on the way that water enters your property and the area in which you live, you property may not be covered for flooding due to storms or other weather conditions.