Queenslanders are no stranger to some wild weather, and as summer time fast approaches, it’s that time again for Queenslanders to get prepared for what’s ahead! In fact, since 2011, Queensland has experienced more than 80 natural disasters. These have ranged from cyclone, floods and storms to bushfires and heatwaves, each devastating to local communities.
If your home or business is not prepped or you’re unsure how you should prepare, this blog is for you. We’ve outlined how you can best safeguard your home and business from the harsh Queensland climate.
What is the Get Ready Queensland Program?
The Get Ready Queensland Program was introduced to help all Queenslanders prepare for possible natural disasters year round. Queensland is home to all things beautiful, sandy white beaches, glorious sunny days and rainforest filled with life, unfortunately it is also home to some of the worst disasters in Australia.
Getting your home and business ready for any impending weather event is integral to ensuring Queenslanders come out the other side of natural disasters in the best shape possible. Which is why, as part of a the Queensland Government’s resilience building initiative, the Get Ready Queensland campaign was created.
How to Get Your Home & Business Ready for Wild Weather
1. Understand the likelihood of natural disasters in your area.
It will come as no shock to Queenslanders that the sunshine state gets hit with more disasters than any other state. Here are just a few to be aware of if you live in the sunshine state, or are simply planning to take a trip.
If you would like more detailed and tailored information regarding your risk speak to your local council.
In Queensland, floods are categorised into four types; river flooding, creek flooding, overland flow and storm tide flooding. Depending on the region you live in, the type of flooding you experience will differ.
For example, those living close to the beach are more at risk of storm tide flooding than those living in the rural communities. Floods are most likely during the warmer months, however with this drastic climate, they can occur at any time during the calendar year.
If you’re after more information on flooding in your area, visit your local council or government service. The Get Ready Queensland website will also have more information on how to help communities prepare for different flood types.
If you live in Queensland, we have no doubt you’ll be familiar with our stormy afternoons, especially in spring. These storms often come rolling in from the west and are known for cooling the temperature down just a little after a scorching day.
Whilst these storms are mostly harmless, they can sometimes turn wild, and fast. Summer storms often appear out of nowhere, which is what makes them so dangerous. The most vicious of these weather events can bring flash flooding, cyclonic winds, tornados and large hail stones, sometimes leaving you with little time to get ready.
What classifies a storm as severe?
- Hail measuring more than 2cm in diameter.
- Wind gusts exceeding 90km/h.
- Heavy rain which could cause flash flooding.
If a storm meets all three of these criteria, a severe storm warning will be issued and residents will be alerted of the risk via government services such as The Bureau of Meteorology.
You may also like: Prepare your home for storm season.
Cyclones are a major concern for those living in Queensland costal communities. While these communities bear the brunt of these weather events, the flow on impacts, including flooding, can span across most of the state.
We all saw the immediate effects of this in 2011 when Brisbane was hit with drastic flooding. This is what makes cyclones one of the most severe weather events in QLD.
Bushfires are a real threat to Queenslanders, especially during years of little rain. Getting a bushfire plan in place is essential for your own safety. Fires can happen with little to no warning, making them life threatening.
2. Check your insurance policy.
- Call your insurer and check what you’re covered for in terms of weather damage to your home, business, vehicles, etc. Many Queenslanders aren’t sure of the details of their insurance policies and, unfortunately, when it comes time to claim are unable to claim some of the damages they once thought. Some of the insurance features to check include:
- What events are covered? Sometimes flood damage may be covered, but damage from sea water may not, which could be a problem if you live in an area near the ocean where storm serges are possible.
- What types of each weather events are covered? For example, while you may be covered for flooding, this may not include damage to gates, fences, retaining walls and driveways.
Check your insurance covers the cost to build and repair any damage to your property.
If you’re not happy with your current coverage, or don’t have insurance, get in contact with your local insurance provider.
3. Create an emergency plan with your household.
Emergency plans save lives. Get Ready Queensland has created a simple online form you can use to create your emergency plan in under 20 minutes. The plan outlines contact details of everyone in the home, utilities providers, GP and so much more.
People often forget with storms comes lack of phone coverage, electricity and internet, so it’s important to have a paper copy plan in place and for every household member to be aware of it.
Once the plan is complete, print it out and keep a copy on the fridge and in your emergency kit for safe keeping to prepare for natural disasters.
4. Put together your emergency kit.
Putting together an emergency kit is an easy step your household can take towards getting ready for any wild weather Queensland throws your way. Your kit should include essentials you and your family need to survive for a few days without running water, electricity or access to most common amenities.
Natural disasters put a lot of stain on our emergency services department. Besides the disasters limiting access to impacted areas, unprepared members of the community can add extra pressure which could have been easily avoided. One of the best ways to be prepared is to have an emergency kit in place. Here are a few essentials to include in your kit, feel free to add anything else you or your family may need.
Natural Disaster Emergency Kit Checklist:
- First aid kit. In your first aid kit, ensure to include a weeks supply of any prescription and over the counter medication for yourself, family and animals.
- A copy of your emergency plan.
- Can opener.
- Any important documents for yourself, family and business. This can include, insurance documents, birth certificates, passports, legal documents and drivers licence.
- Water, ensuring you have enough for all members of your household (including pets) for at least a week.
- Canned food and other non-perishable snacks for three days.
- Your phone, laptop and other communication devices. For those is rural Queensland, ensure you have a satellite phone.
- Chargers for electrical items and a full charged power bank (or two).
- USB with any important documents.
- Torch and spare batteries.
- Pet supplies, including bowls, food and a comforter — natural disasters can be scary for pets too.
- Rubbish bags.
- Battery operated radio.
- Sunglasses or other safety glasses.
- Whistle. We know it sounds peculiar, but a whistle is the best way to draw attention to yourself if you’re stuck in a problem.
- Wrench or pliers.
- Tarp and ropes.
- Changes of clothes for up to 5 days.
- Utility knife.
- BBQ or portable stove.
- Face mask.
- Hand sanitiser.
Most of these items can be easily sourced from your local grocery or hardware store. Just remember to get a plastic, waterproof tub to keep it all in while you’re at it!
Queensland Businesses Owners Natural Disaster Checklist
Looking after your business is a top priority for any business owner, but none more so than during a severe weather event. Remember, you may lose access to your business for days on end, so ensure you’re ready with a plan in place in case a severe weather event strikes. Here’s a simply checklist to follow to ensure you’re ready.
Before a weather event happens:
- Ensure all your important documents, pin numbers and passwords are stored in a secondary location of the premise. Where possible, scan and make digital copies of everything.
- Put together an emergency kit to keep on premises, like the one above.
- Check your insurance policy. Are you covered for all the weather events which could strike your area? If you’re not sure which weather events to be most concerned about, contact your local government representative.
After a weather warning has been issued:
The steps you take to get ready and secure your business will be greatly dependent on the type of weather event headed your way. But here are a few basic steps you’ll want to take to ensure your business can weather the storm ahead.
- Ensure all electrical appliances are turned off or connect to a surge protector, where possible.
- Lock up your business securely, unfortunately looting is common after a serve weather event.
- Give a spare key to a trusted staff member or family member. They may be able to reach the business before you after the disaster if you’re trapped by flood waters or fallen debris.
- Tape any windows and sandbag where appropriate.
- Remove as many valuables from the premise or at least out of view.
Get in contact with your local insurance broker to find out what you should be covered for.