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10-Point Checklist: How to prepare for cyclone season

2 November 2020

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On average, Australia is hit by 10 cyclones per year, with the vast majority affecting areas in the north-west of the country – between Exmouth and Broome in WA – and the north-east, between Port Douglas and Maryborough in Queensland.

Here are ten things you can do to prepare for cyclone season.

1. Create your cyclone plan

Create a household emergency plan outlining the steps you’ll take if a cyclone is approaching – what you’ll do to secure your property, what you’ll need to take with you, and where you’ll go. Refer to the list of state emergency service websites below for additional information and resources.  

2. Look at some home improvements

New building codes now list some enhanced protection in cyclone-prone areas, including roof straps that attach to the frame of the house, and cyclone washers that provide roof screws with a wider surface area. Some of these things can be retrofitted.

3. Clean out your gutters

Cyclones bring with them a large volume of rain in a short space of time, so making sure your gutters and downpipes are clear will ensure water is dispersed as quickly as possible.

4. Check your roofs, too

Roof damage accounts for the most cyclone-related claims, so check the roof on your home as well as the roofs of outbuildings are in good order. Get any repairs done now.

5. Inspect your windows

Windows are particularly vulnerable to cyclone damage, especially if the window seal has deteriorated. If the window seal is on its way out, windows will vibrate and shatter in a cyclone.

6. Repair your fences and gates, and remove any dead branches from trees

Any fencing that’s not secure will be whipped up by high winds, and can become lethal missiles. Repair and replace if necessary. Tree branches can be dangerous in cyclones, too, so remove any dead branches, which a cyclone could easily dislodge.

7. Secure your outdoor furniture

Know where your outdoor furniture is, and bring inside if possible. If not, secure it to the ground – or put into the swimming pool!

8. Sandbags at the ready
High volumes of water can cause flooding, so arm yourself with sandbags to place in front of doors and driveways. If you have a basement, lift items stored there onto pallets.

9. Clear your garage

Whenever possible, it’s best to keep your vehicles under cover during cyclone season. If your garage is currently being used to store everything but a car, clear space so you can drive your car in at a moment’s notice.

10. Stock up on essentials

If a cyclone hits, you could be cut off from your nearest town for a few days. Make sure your cupboards are stocked and you have an alternative source of power in case your power is disrupted too. If you’re living in a remote location, a satellite phone could also come in handy.

Take the time to create an emergency plan. Knowing what to do should a cyclone develops into an emergency makes it easier to cope. For more information and resources visit your state’s emergency services website: New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania.   

Now’s the time to double-check your insurance policies are valid and with adequate levels of cover – home, outbuildings, vehicles and contents. If you haven’t assessed your levels of cover for a while, make sure the values are correct. Repairs, especially those to a new building code, may have increased in price.

To review your personal insurance ahead of cyclone season and ensure you have the right level of cover in place, tailored to your personal situation, contact your local Elders Insurance Agent today.

Download a copy of our Cyclone Season Checklist
and get your home and family prepared for cyclone season.

This article was compiled based on information available to Elders Insurance on or before October 2020. The general advice in this article has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice. This guide does not form part of any insurance policy and is not used in the assessment of insurance claims. Any insurance claim will be assessed against the policy terms and conditions and applicable law.

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