Preparing now can help reduce damage caused by severe storms and reduce the resulting repair bill.
The NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) recommends eight simple steps that you can take now to prepare your home and help reduce the potential damage caused by severe storms.
Maintain your yard surrounding your home. Secure or store items that could blow around in strong winds.
Strong winds can pick up even large items such as outdoor furniture, trampolines and roofing iron causing damage to windows, roofs, vehicles and machinery. Try to keep items around your property tidy. Identify things which you may need to secure or put away if strong wind or a severe storm is forecast. You may like to include this information in your plan. Storms can affect your home even if you’re on holiday, so if you are going away consider securing these items and following other relevant steps before leaving.
Clean your gutters, down pipes and drains regularly to prevent blockages.
It is important to keep your gutters and down pipes clear as blockages can cause the water to overflow under the eaves into the roof cavity. Clear leaves from the valleys of your roof as these will make their way into the gutters in heavy rain. Keep the drains around your property clear to help surface water move away and prevent water from pooling and entering your property.
Remember to park away from low lying areas and drains if heavy rainfall is expected.
Trim trees and branches that could potentially fall on your home or property.
Remember, your safety is important so contact a qualified (and insured) arborist or tree surgeon for advice if necessary. Have a qualified arborist inspect trees every 2-3yrs to identify any preventative action necessary. Root damage is a major cause of tree failure so take care when digging or excavating around trees. Remember to park your car away from trees if strong winds and severe storms are predicted.
Wolgan has many trees still recovering from the 2019/2020 Black Summer Bushfire season. These damaged trees pose an even greater risk of falling during strong wind.
Fix any damage to your roof, including broken or missing tiles, and loose iron.
Your roof should be checked every year (or after major events such as hail storms) for signs of damage. Fix any cracked, broken or displaced tiles. Build-up of dirt should be removed as it can block the drainage channels on the underside of tiles. Damaged roof sheeting may need to be patched or replaced. Check inside your roof space. Light shining through may indicate that your roof or sarking (waterproof insulation membrane) is damaged. Working on a roof can be dangerous so we recommend you contact an expert tradesperson if in doubt about your capacity to check or maintain your roof. Have your roof inspected by an expert tradesperson every 5-7 years. They can identify and remedy issues such as re-pointing, re-bedding and replacing the ridge or hip caps.
Check your insurance policy is current and adequate.
Consider things like the type of cover (building and property insurance for homeowners and mortgagees, contents insurance however is applicable for everyone). Consider also what level of cover you are insured for. Make sure that your insurance policy provides cover for the types of events specific to your location, these may include flash flood, storm water runoff, associated landslip (or landslide) and damage to properties by trees.
Make a Home Emergency Plan for your family that outlines what you would do in an emergency.
Consider where you’ll go and how you’ll get in contact with each other along with any special circumstances or considerations for your household. Remember that storms and other emergencies can happen at any time of day so think about where members of your household may be (school, work, commuting), how you’ll get in touch with them and where you can meet up. Try to identify how you will manage in these circumstances and who you may be able to get additional support from. Make sure that everyone knows what the plan is.
Prepare an emergency kit with essential items in case you lose power or need to leave home in an emergency
Think about the sorts of things you’d need in an emergency. It can be difficult to find these items in a power outage or if you need to leave home in a hurry. An emergency kit contains most of these items in a sturdy, waterproof container. Remember to keep it in an easy to access location. See the NSW SES website for more information on other items you’d include in an emergency kit. Remember to include items such as any essential medications and prescriptions, important documents and your emergency plans.
Listen to your local radio station and other media for weather warnings.
ABC Central West on digital radio or via radio on 1395 AM/94.1FM provides weather warning information, updates and advice specific to our area.
This information can help you identify things such as flash flooding locations to avoid, road closures, evacuation and recovery centres. Power often goes out during storms and water can affect electricity outlets within your house so make sure you have battery operated torches and radios with spare batteries.
NSW State Emergency Service website https://www.ses.nsw.gov.au/. As of 6 January 2023.