Just the other night we got the first big storm for the season – and boy was I unprepared for it. With two little kids and no power for four hours, I didn’t have access to water (my tank needs electricity to run the pump), I had no idea where the candles were and the wind blew with quite a ferocity strewing crap all over the yard. The kids were terrified and we huddled under the light from a torch until hubby got home and saved the day (as usual!).
So this week I’m getting somewhat organised for the next one – after all there are only going to be more of them.
We are very lucky in this day and age that the Weather Bureau can predict most storms – if you haven’t already check regularly with www.bom.gov.au and check out their radar function – it gives you a good indication of any predicted weather events, and how long you have to get ready!
Stock up on Supplies
If you have ever been to a shopping centre the day before a cyclone then you know how hectic it can be. It can be a fight to get the last tin of long life milk for the kids and you may find that the shops have run out of necessities. Your best bet is to pick up one or two items every time you shop – and put them away. Have a special water proof container designed for emergencies where you can place things like a torch, lots of spare batteries, tinned food, formula, nappies, long life milk and pet food. You could lose your power for days after a cyclone has passed and thus having an emergency kit of food and supplies can make this situation much more bearable.
I also like the idea of washing out the empty three litre milk bottles and keep a few filled in the cupboard – after a week or so I pour it on the garden and refresh them regularly.
Keep your Yard Clean
One of the biggest dangers during a strom or cyclone is damage from trees, debris and other heavy items around the house. Keeping your yard clear by removing any large trees and branches during the year can help you stay on top of this. If a warning has been issued you will probably be so busy trying to find a safe place for your outdoor furniture and any outdoor toys, that you won’t have a chance to do any major yard work.
Have a Safety Plan in Action
If you do live on the coast, are close to the water and in the direct path of the cyclone, then there is a good possibility that you will need to find alternative accommodation, either at a friend’s house on higher ground or in an evacuation centre. Discuss what to do if you are put into this position. You may find that driving three hours to the country to stay with relatives is the best plan for you and your family or you may be happier to stay close to your home and your contents and bunk in the evacuation centre for a day or two. As long as everyone is on the same page, you will be better prepared and can expect a less panic and less arguing.
Have a Game Plan for your Vehicles
All of your vehicles and toys, such as boats and caravans need to be garaged and safe. If you do not have space for these items underneath a covered area, then they may get damaged. You might need to move these items to a facility that can accommodate them or have special tarps ready to go when the weather warning is issued.
Double Check your Insurance
And, finally, make sure you have adequate insurance to cover all the costs related to cyclone damage. This means double checking your house, contents and car insurance every year and adding to it if you have acquired new items. If you are left with serious damage, you are going to need to depend entirely on the quality of your insurance policy.