Storm season has arrived and it’s time to get prepared.
The season is generally marked from October through to March with that time period bringing weather conditions that can have catastrophic outcomes for unprepared strata communities.
On top of this, experts warn that the traditional Australian storm season is now a thing of the past as the country faces higher levels of heat waves, dust storms, bushfires, coastal flooding and other natural disasters.
In Queensland, weather can change rapidly from very hot dry conditions, with heat waves and bushfires very quickly turning into periods where moisture comes in and results in thunderstorms, rainfall and flooding.
Bodies corporate and all members of the strata community should consider how they can best mitigate against the threat wild weather poses.
Here are some key tips to assist bodies corporate, lot-owners and residents stay prepared.
Top Tips for Storm Preparation:
- Fix broken items – repair any broken windows, latches or doors to avoid further damage.
- Check your roofing and gutters– for any loose fixtures, damage or corrosion.
- Keep gardens tidy– trim low hanging and overgrown branches that are sitting close to your property and notify your body corporate immediately if you see any tree branches that could be hazardous.
- Conduct a maintenance check – if your home has been exposed to storms in the last few years (or if it’s an older property) it may be useful to hire a qualified tradesperson to come and evaluate your property and ensure everything is secure.
- Secure your property – ensure items like furniture and pot plants are either securely fastened to balconies and verandas or removed.
- Prepare common areas – clear away any rubbish and ensure all loose items are secured. This includes outdoor furniture, pots and plastic pool furniture (which can be placed in the pool to avoid it blowing away).
- Check your insurance policy – confirm you are covered for contents insurance, as the building’s strata insurance does not cover the personal belongings in your unit, and have these documents handy.
- Get a building valuation and adjust your insurance– When was the last time your complex had a building valuation and adjusted your insurance accordingly? Major insurers recommend strata communities have a full building valuation at least every three years.
- Unplug electronic devices during a storm– including the TV, computer, stereo and modem.
- Stay away from windows during a storm– as debris can fly around and hit windows.
- Have a disaster kit ready to go– at a minimum packed with a first aid kit, fresh water, batteries and a radio. Consider having tarpaulins and ropes available in the case of roof damage.
- Update your body corporate manager- about your property’s damage and any damage you notice on common property as soon as possible.
- Be prepared to move cars– away from trees and other hazards when storms strike.
- Register and microchip your pets – in incidences of extreme weather gates can blow open, fencing detaches, and frightened pets could escape.
- Study the building’s evacuation plan– so that you are prepared should you need to vacate the building quickly.
- Make a Household Emergency Plan– Click here to create a personalised Household Emergency Plan.
- Mark the locations – of your electrical switchboard, natural gas connection or tanks, water supply, and solar inverter, and keep this with your Household Emergency Plan. This allows utility services to take fast action in an emergency.
- Stay away from fallen power lines – report them to Energex on 13 19 62 or Ergon on 13 16 70.
- Bushfire plan – if you live in a bush fire area, have a plan in place should you, your family, or your property be at risk.
- Help your neighbours– The best support during a disaster is your neighbours. Give them a hand getting storm ready and when bad weather strikes, it’s important to be able to advise emergency services personnel on who lives next door.
Strata communities face unique considerations when it comes to storm preparedness and insurance claims, so understanding their body corporate responsibilities will help stop potential damages and unnecessary repair costs to their property and common areas.
It is vital that bodies corporate and their communities are ready and adequately equipped to deal with the testing conditions that the wild weather can bring.
Be Prepared and Stay Safe this Storm Season.
Don’t forget in an emergency situation call:
- Flood/Storm Emergency – call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500
- Life Threatening Emergency – call 000
- Non-Emergency SES Enquiries – click here
Author: Sam Aubrey