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Storms often show us the brutal power Mother Nature wields. Although they often don’t last very long, storms can pack a mean punch and can be unexpectedly destructive. Lightning strikes, torrential rain, cyclone-force winds, and hail can damage homes and cars, block roads, take out power lines and bring down trees.

So, with winter and another storm season well underway, here’s some practical advice on how to prepare your property and help safeguard your home and family in the event of wild weather.

There’s a storm coming

Check your yard or balcony

First and foremost, make sure everything is secured. To a strong wind, everything is a sail. Outdoor furniture, play equipment, trampolines, and bins can all be picked up and hurled through the air. Anything airborne can damage windows, buildings and cars.

Identify what items need to be tied down, filled with water to weigh them down or moved out of harm’s way. Trim any smaller tree branches that are close to your property, especially windows as strong winds can make them lash against your home with force and cause damage. If you have a garage or a shed, move outdoor equipment, cardboard boxes and rubbish bins, into it and out of harm’s way.

Don’t forget to move any chemicals or poisons up somewhere high to avoid them leaching into any floodwaters.

Clean gutters, down pipes and drains

It’s not uncommon for a severe storm to dump a lot of rain in just a few hours (June 2023 was particularly wet). And when that happens, it’s not a great time to discover your gutters are full of old twigs and leaves. If they are blocked, or your downpipes are clogged, the water can overflow under the eaves and into your roof cavity.

Check your drains and make sure they’re clear. They need to be able to cope with a large volume of water entering and flowing through, otherwise, you could end up with a swimming pool you never planned for!

Fix any damage to your roof

The last thing you need is to have any loose roof tiles being picked up by the wind and hurled around the neighbourhood. Avoid danger and damage by completing an annual roof check – this will also help you spot any early signs of moisture and leaks that could lead to bigger problems.

Get prepared

If the storm is forecasted to be severe, it could be a good idea to turn off your gas or electricity at the mains to avoid any dangerous situations. Storms can do nasty things to your fresh water supply and the quality can be compromised. In flooding, you may end up without access to clean drinking water, so ensure you have some fresh water stored. This can be in containers, bottles or your bathtub.

Ensure your first aid kit has all the basics and add in a torch and some spare batteries. You may also find it useful to include a charged power bank so you can keep your mobile phone topped up with juice if your power is off.

Always have an emergency plan and ensure that everyone in your household is aware of it.

During the storm

When the storm hits, the most important thing is to keep you, your family and your pets safe. Make sure any animals you own have protection from the weather and try to keep them calm.

If the weather causes severe damage to your property’s roof, ceilings or windows and you’re in need of urgent assistance, contact the State Emergency Service (SES). Be aware that the severity of the weather may mean that they are needed in many places at the same time.

Should floodwaters threaten your home, try and move your furniture and electrical appliances like televisions up off the ground as high as possible.

You can learn more about what you can do to help protect your family and home on the DFES website.

After the storm

Ensure the storm has passed before venturing outside. Even if the storm isn’t as bad as when it first hit, there could still be large items of debris being hurled about by the wind.

Next up, you should start recording any damage to your home. Taking lots of photographs will help with insurance claims, and it’s best to avoid making any significant repairs yourself before talking to your insurer.

Depending on the severity of the storm and its outcome, there are a few more things to remember afterwards:

  • If you evacuated your property, on your return check that the electricity and gas are off, and don’t use a naked flame until you are sure everything is safe.
  • Throw out any food that has been touched by water. It could be contaminated and make you sick.
  • Boil all water until supplies have been declared safe.
  • Check your smoke detectors are still working.
  • Don't use electrical items that came into contact with water. Have them – and your gas appliances – professionally tested as soon as possible.

Storms are commonly occurring weather events here in Australia. By following our tips on how to make your home safe and prepare for the unforeseen, you can help make an unexpected situation as safe as possible for you and your loved ones.

In severe weather, damage can happen to your property no matter how well you’ve prepared. That’s why it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re adequately insured, and your policies are up to date. If you need home insurance, we offer a range of options available that may suit your needs.


Police & Nurses Limited (P&N Bank) ABN 69 087 651 876 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 240701 acts under its own AFSL and under an agreement with the insurer Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 trading as CGU Insurance. Any advice provided is general advice only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs (“your personal circumstances”). Before using this advice to decide whether to purchase a product, you should consider your personal circumstances and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination from CGU Insurance.