While Australia's wild weather is inevitable, there are ways you can prepare your home and household for when a storm hits, minimising damage and ensuring your safety.
Gutters are your home's first line of defence for protecting against leaks during wet weather. You should therefore clean them twice a year at an absolute minimum, but it's especially important prior to any expected storms to ensure they are clear of any leaves, debris or other obstructions. If your gutter becomes clogged, storm water will back up and can potentially enter your roof and cause damage.
Stuart Tucker, chief customer officer at hipages has these further storm-proofing tips.
1. Secure your home
If you've heard reports of expected storms in your area, the first thing you should do is ensure your home is as secure as possible. This includes putting away outdoor furniture or play equipment and ensuring there is no debris in your garden or surrounds, including branches or wood. If possible, it's also best to park your car undercover as well.
2. Survey the area
If you have a tree located close to your house, this could pose a risk of damage to your home and roof during a storm. Trim back branches and remove any trees that pose a danger to avoid thousands of dollars worth of damage to your property. Consider doing this quarterly to ensure you're not scrambling at the last minute. With services such as hipages offering tradies on-demand, hiring a local licensed arborist is easier than ever meaning you can stay on top of jobs ahead of storm season.
3. Keep the roof over your head
Your roof is one of the most vulnerable areas of your home in a storm, so you need to keep yours well maintained throughout the year. Prior to a storm rolling through, ensure there is no pre-existing damage to your roof, such as loose tiles or sheets. If there's any physical damage, repair this as soon as you can. Remember if your roof is in poor condition it's much more likely to succumb to the ravages of a storm.
4. Fix your fence
It's important to check your fence for unstable bases, damaged slats and loose and/or damaged screws and hinges which could cause serious problems. If you identify any of these issues, call in a professional tradie to make repairs, securing your fence against storms and high winds.
5. Secure your doors and windows
Some of the most common damage to occur during a storm is to doors and windows, typically due to a failure of the closure system. For peace of mind, it's important to know your windows and doors are strong and safe enough to withstand a storm. Do so by hiring a licensed handyman to install sturdy hinges and locks on your doors and windows.
6. Have a solid foundation
Storms can lead to floods, which happens more often in some states across the country. Flooding can cause homes to collapse due to inadequate foundations. If you're concerned about your home, have a structural engineer inspect your foundations and make any required repairs or reinforcements to keep it standing strong for years to come.
7. Structural property damage
Any damage caused by heavy storms can have serious implications to the structure of your home and make it more at risk in future. Following extreme weather, check for cracks appearing in walls and windows or doors starting to jam. If you see any of these in your home, call in a qualified structural engineer to help to repair these issues promptly.
8. Create an emergency kit, just in case
Some storms can lead to blackouts and other disruptions to your usual homelife. If you know a storm is coming, prepare an emergency kit including torches, candles, matches, canned food, a can opener, bottled water and potentially first aid supplies to get you through until power is reconnected to your home.
9. Have a plan
Creating a home emergency plan can help reduce any stress should you and your family need to evacuate in the case of a severe storm. This should outline the safe exit points in your home, an agreed meeting point and a way to stay in contact should you become separated from each other. It is also a good idea to have emergency evacuation bags packed with food, water and clothes, particularly if you're in a flood prone area.