Storms can happen anywhere, at any time of the year, although they are more common during the main period of increased storm activity from September to the end of February. Recently we have experienced some extreme weather out here in Sydney, including heavy rains, hail and of course, the excessive heat.
Severe storms can cause major damage from accompanying torrential rain, strong winds, large hailstones and lightning. Flash flooding, winds that unroof buildings and damage trees or power lines. Australia’s greatest costs, in terms of insured losses, are caused by storms.
After a storm it is important to check your home and surroundings for potential hazards which could cause health and safety issues for you or your family members.
Before you start your inspection it is a good idea to equip yourself with protective footgear such as a sturdy pair of boots and a flashlight.
Check the exterior of your home for any damage that may pose a risk to health and safety such as broken glass, damage to roofs and gutters, and trees or other garden structures that have fallen down – or may still have the potential to fall down.
Avoid any areas that may be dangerous such as creeks, drains, causeways, gutters, streams, fallen trees, power lines or any damaged buildings.
Having ascertained the extent of damage to the exterior of your home and the surroundings, inspect the interior of your home for storm damage – for example any structural damage/stability issues, gas and/or electricity leakage and damage to roofs and ceilings that may lead to leaking of contaminants like asbestos.
Once you have inspected your home for damage, and have found some, the first thing to do is to keep calm and know who to call. If you’re in need of emergency help as a result of storms or floods, you should contact the State Emergency Services.
Visible damage is easy to find and inspect – but have you considered less obvious signs of storm damage? These can include gas leaks, water contamination or broken water pipes, damaged pools – or trees that have filled with rain (and could fall any moment).
It is important to mention that before you drink any water or eat any food – check for possible contamination. Water contamination is a hazard that can be hard to see initially but can have major effects on you and your family’s health.
It is also important to ensure the safety of your family during as well as after a major storm – having insurance helps to ease the burden of unexpected costs resulting from storm damage.