Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Be Prepared for Disasters

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Be Prepared for Disasters

Article excerpt

NATURAL disasters such as bushfires, floods and tropical cyclones occur every year across Australia. These extreme weather related events cause millions of dollars worth of damage and serious disruption to communities.

There are simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of damage to your home and help keep your family safe. Heavy rain, high winds and hail can cause substantial damage to your home but it's damage that can often be prevented. Maintaining your property is your first line of defence.

Here are some weekend tasks that can make a difference should a storm strike:

Clean gutters and downpipes and check the roof for leaks

Sweep debris away from drains and fix any that are blocked

Trim tree branches near the house (after checking with your local council)

Tidy away any loose objects that could blow around

In a cyclone-prone area, it's a good idea to fit permanent shutters or at least metal screens to glass windows and doors.

Before the storm or cyclone

Remove loose objects that might get broken or cause damage if blown around

Tie down (or fill with water) large, relatively light things like garbage bins and boats

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

During the storm or cyclone

Stay safe when the storm or cyclone hits.

Shelter in the strongest part of your home, like the bathroom, cellar, hallway or built-in wardrobe

If necessary, cover yourself with a mattress, blanket, doona or tarpaulin, under a table

Stay clear of windows and skylights. Close curtains and blinds to protect against flying glass

Listen to a portable radio for weather updates

If flooding is likely, put furniture, TV and rugs as high as you can

If you're driving, slow down or park away from trees, powerlines and creeks or rivers

Don't use the landline telephone and disconnect electrical appliances - it's dangerous if there's lightning about

Don't shelter under a tree - if you're outside, find solid shelter

Don't lie down if you're caught outside without shelter, crouch down low with your feet together. …

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