Preparing for cyclone
In Australia, cyclones of varying intensity generally occur between November and April each year, with the areas most at risk of cyclone including northern Queensland, northern Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
A violent storm
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. The strong wind, heavy rain and flying debris caused by a cyclone can extensively damage property.
Understand your risk
If you live in a cyclone-prone area you should assess your risk. Ask your local council if your property is within a cyclone evacuation zone and if your area is prone to flash or riverine flooding or storm surge.
Planning ahead is the best way to protect your family, home, business and assets from cyclones. Insurance helps to do this, so review your insurance policies and ensure your level of cover is appropriate.
If you are not insured, your recovery will depend on your own financial resources and assistance that may be available from government or non-government agencies.
You can take practical steps to reduce the damage caused by a cyclone. This includes:
- Familiarise yourself with your insurance policy. Find out what is included in the policy and understand its exclusions. Contact your insurer if you have questions.
- Inspect your property and take practical streps to reduce risk such as removing dead or rotting trees that may fall on your property and keep gutters clear.
- Check the condition of your roof and repair any damage or loose tiles.
- Prepare a disaster plan, including identifying the strongest part of your property in which to shelter during a cyclone.
- Prepare a room-by-room inventory of the contents of your home. This list helps determine if your assets are adequately protected and can save time when making a claim.
- Prepare a disaster supply kit, with cash, food, water, toiletries, medication, a household contents inventory, copies of important documents, protective clothing, a radio and a torch – and batteries for both.
- Know where and how to turn off mains power, water, gas and solar power.
Longer term preparations
- Maintain your property to ensure there is no corrosion, rotten timber or loose fixtures that could weaken the structures.
- Install appropriate windows or shutters to glass windows and doors and ensure all locks are strong enough to withstand strong wind.
- Every year use a building and contents insurance calculator to ensure your insurance cover adequately covers estimated costs to repair, rebuild or replace home and contents, vehicles and any outbuildings on your property in event of a disaster.