Preparation is key to storm damage prevention

Dean Burns

With summer fast approaching experts are warning Queenslanders to be prepared for the damage and frustration that accompany our notorious storm season, which typically hits South East Queensland through the warmer months up until April.

NRMA Insurance spokesperson Frank Adler said too many Queenslanders left it until it was too late to take storm precautions.

“The best time to prepare for a storm is when you’re not in the middle of one,” Mr Adler said.

“Our research has shown surprisingly that many Queensland residents simply aren’t prepared for severe weather.”

He said securing roofs was vital to storm preparation, but said half of Queenslanders had never, secured their roof tiles.

Mr Adler said outdoor furniture and fallen trees were also major hazards during storm season.

“The big one is to trim overhanging tree branches, which can cause massive damage to your roof if they come down during a storm,” he said.

“Store unsecured outdoor furniture [as] they can actually become missiles around the house in big winds and severe weather.”

SES Regional Community Engagement Officer Melissa Messenger said the State Emergency Service would be on standby ready to help those impacted by storm damage.

She said the SES could be reached by calling 132 500.

“We’ll get our SES volunteers out there to have a look and assess the situation, and repair anything or give you some temporary relief from the storm,” Ms Messenger said.

“Our role is to support the local community and [our volunteers] assist by sandbagging, putting tarps on roofs, removing dangerous trees that may have fallen across peoples’ properties.”

But she warned calling 000 might be more appropriate for some circumstances in the aftermath of a storm.

“If you need emergency help or your life is threatened or you are injured, always call 000, but for those things like your house being flooded or you’ve got some storm damage, definitely ring 132 500,” she said.

Mr Adler said not all storm preparation was about securing potential missiles and clearing debris, but was about ensuring households were prepared for power outages and personal injury.

He said keeping insurance documents safe and up-to-date was vital.

“Prepare an emergency kit that includes a torch, working batteries, a first aid kit, a portable radio and also important documents including [your] insurance policy in a waterproof bag,” Mr Adler said.

He said it was up to individuals to make sure their insurance was up to date and said it was “vital they go through their insurance policy and make sure they are covered”.

“A little preparation now can lead to your property being safe and save you a whole lot of heartache later.”

Mr Adler said these precautions made it a lot easier to lodge an insurance claim after the event.

“The best way to claim, or time to claim, is straight after the storm or severe weather event.”

“If you have damage to your house, get on the phone as soon as possible,” he said.

“Having said that, a lot of insurers these days have facilities where you can go online and lodge a claim, which can be quick as well.”

But before thinking about lodging claims, Ms Messenger said it was important to ensure your own safety and, if necessary, contact the SES.

“Our volunteers are very dedicated, they’re very community minded and they’re always willing to help.”

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