What to do in the event of cyclone


A cyclone is a violent storm with very high winds rotating around a calm centre of low pressure. Cyclones can cause destructive winds of more than 280kmh, as well as floods, storm surges and widespread damage.

Practical preparation for imminent cyclone

Practical steps you can take if it is safe to do so include:

  • Securing all loose items outside your property including garden furniture, umbrellas, sheds, trampolines, pool furniture and children’s cubby houses.
  • Securing boats or vehicles and moving your car under cover.
  • Clearing your property of loose material that could blow about and possibly cause injury or damage during extreme winds.
  • Using waterproof bags to protect clothing and important documents from storm damage.
  • Unplugging electrical equipment.

During a cyclone

During a cyclone, safety is always the first priority.

You should enact the plans you made before the cyclone and follow the instructions of local authorities and emergency services. 

If you are advised to evacuate, take your disaster supply kit, lock your house and follow evacuation instructions.

You should tell someone when you leave and where you are going and make sure to check in with local authorities, emergency services and ABC local radio for updates.

Practical steps you can take if it is safe to do so include:

  • While conditions are severe, stay indoors and keep clear of windows.
  • Avoid turning the power on at your home if there is flooding. Have a professional conduct a thorough inspection first.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas and property until emergency services declare it is safe to return and stay away from downed power lines, and fallen trees.
  • Avoid entering floodwater on foot or in a vehicle. Floodwater can contain raw sewage and contaminants, conduct electricity and can mask hidden hazards. It can be deeper than you think, and may be flowing rapidly.

After a cyclone

The time immediately after a cyclone is often just as dangerous as the event. Don't go outside until authorities advise that the cyclone has passed and your region is safe. Don't be deceived by the apparent calm when the eye of the cyclone passes.

Be careful to take certain precautions after the cyclone has passed and when you return home.

Immediate aftermath

  • Safety is the priority - don’t do anything that puts anyone at risk.
  • Only return to your property when emergency services give the go ahead.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, poles and wires, and fallen trees.
  • If your home is unsafe, notify your local emergency services and check with your insurance company if you can claim temporary housing expenses.
  • If water has entered the property, don't turn on your electricity until it has been inspected by an electrician.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to lodge a claim and seek guidance on the claims process.
  • Let your insurer know if you've sustained roof damage.
  • Speak to your insurer before you attempt or authorise any building work, including emergency repairs, and ask for the insurer’s permission in writing. Unauthorised work may not be covered by your policy.

Cleaning up a cyclone or cyclone flood 

  • Before you start your clean-up take photos or video of damage to your property and contents / possessions to support your claim. 
  • Remove any water damaged items from the property that may pose a health risk such as soft furnishings and carpet. Take photos or keep small samples of water damaged items to support your insurance claim.
  • Don’t throw away items that could be repaired, unless they pose a health risk.
  • Make a list of each damaged item and if possible include a detailed description, such as brand, model, and serial number
  • Check your contents policy for food spoilage cover, you may be able to make a claim due to power outage.
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