Reports from The Sydney Morning Herald on 21st April 2015 indicated that over 7000 insurance claims had been lodged, with millions of dollars of damage done to the NSW area due to severe storm damage. Cyclones are defined as strong, constant winds of more than 63km/h. Once the winds surpass 118 km/h, they are then classified as severe. There are generally five different categories of cyclone, with damage varying with each category.
To see something in which weinvest time, effort and money being destroyed or damaged by nature can be soul destroying. While it is difficult to completely eradicate storm damage, there are steps that can be taken to minimise its impact. Here, we will take a look at some of thosesimple steps that can be taken to ensure that your home and family are as safe as possible.
Install Quality Roller Shutters
Roller Shutters are a sensible investment for any home due to the security they offer. While they are known to protect against light, heat and intruders, roller shutters also act as storm and wind protection for your windows. In cyclone conditions it is common for flying debris to cause extensive damage to homes, particularly windows and doors. By installing quality, durable roller shutters, this is one less worry for you and your family.
Ensure that large items such as garden furniture, or machinery such as lawnmowers are secure. Severe cyclone conditions can lift objects of a large size. Scan your yard and garden for smaller objects that may cause structural damage to roofs or cars.
Check the Structural Integrity of Your Home
As we invest so much in our homes, it is important to be confident that they will withstand the punishment that a severe cyclone may inflict.
- Ask a builder to inspect the structural design of your home.
- Find out if the house meets 1981 Australian Building Standards.
- In particular, ensure that the roof is thoroughly examined, as this is the part of your home that will experience the most difficulties during a cyclone.
- If there has been a recent storm in your area, an inspection will determine if the structure of your home has been weakened in any way, and whether it is vulnerable.
Check for Wear and Tear on Fixings
It is estimated that 90% of structures along the main avenue in Tully were extensively damaged by Cyclone Yasi in 2011. While it is impossible to completely prevent damage, paying close attention to loose fixings, rust, and rotten timber can help to prohibit the storm from causing even further damage.
It is also important to look out for wear and tear on:
- Garage Doors
- Home attachments
- Water ingress areas
Clear Gutters and Drains on a Regular Basis
Intense rain during cyclones can cause drains and gutters to block, which can be detrimental for your property.
- Ensure to clear all leaves from your roof as these can block gutters during periods of heavy rain.
- Blockages can cause water to overflow into the roof cavity.
- Ensure drainage gates around your property are clear to prevent surface water forming and entering your home.
Trees are a Potential Danger to Your Property
When you consider planting a tree, think of the mature size of the tree. During high winds and storms, trees pose a very serious threat to any property.
- Before planting any trees or shrubs, it is wise to speak with a gardening expert first.
- If you think that a tree near your home needs to be trimmed it is important to speak with your local council first, in case there are any restrictions.
- Take extra care when digging around trees as root damage is deemed to be a major cause of tree failure.
Emergency Kit and Plan
Preparing for all eventualities is wise in the case of natural disasters, particularly due to their regular occurrence in Australia.
- Ensure that your mobile phone is charged.
- Have a list of emergency numbers that you may need.
- Check that your home and contents are fully insured.
- Have a relocation plan in place should substantial damage occur to your home.
- Prepare an emergency kit which includes, a radio, a torch, batteries and a first aid kit.
- Check that your pets are in a safe place.
By planning ahead, carrying out safety checks, and ensuring your home is as secure as possible, you can have peace of mind that your home will be better equipped to deal with the effects of a storm.