Watchwords

Photo taken by Ben Quinn, Brisbane Storm Chasers, on 30 March 2003 in Brisbane.

Watchwords

STORM SEASON IS COMING!

Summer’s coming, and for Brisbane and surrounds that means storm season. We live in a sub-tropical climate and every year Brisbane will experience at least one severe weather event.

 

GETTING READY FOR STORM SEASON

You can reduce the impact on your family, home and pets by checking out the tips and information below. These have been provided by the Brisbane City Council and the RACQ Get Ready program. To access interactive flood maps, understand your property’s flood risk, and to find more information and tools to help you prepare for severe weather visit http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/beprepared or call Council on (07) 3403 8888.

Keep up-to-date by regularly visiting the Brisbane City Council’s website at http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au, Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/brisbanecityqld and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BrisbaneCityCouncil.

Emergency numbers

  • Keep important phone numbers and checklists in a familiar place so everyone in the household knows where to look.
  • Call 000 (triple zero) for life threatening emergencies only – Police, Fire and Ambulance.
  • Call the State Emergency Services (SES) on 132 500 for temporary roof repairs or sandbagging, or go to http://www.ses.com.au.
  • To report power interruptions and for restoration updates, call Ergon Energy on 136 262. For fallen powerlines, electric shocks or tingles, call Energex on 131 962, or go to http://www.energex.com.au – and make sure that everyone keeps away from fallen powerlines.   
  • Sign up to Brisbane City Council’s Severe Weather Early Warning Alert Service and receive alerts via SMS, email or recorded phone message when severe weather is likely to affect your suburb. The alerts are location-based, so you only receive warnings if your suburb is likely to be impacted. Register or update your details at http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/beprepared.
  • If the weather event is extremely severe, you may need to contact people for assistance, so keep these numbers handy: Medical (doctor or hospital, health fund); Services (plumbers, electricians, gas and electricity providers, and your vet); Financial providers (bank, insurance provider, real estate agent).

Insurance

  • Make sure that your home, contents and car insurance policies are up-to-date and adequately cover your assets.

Prepare your Emergency Kit

  • Prepare an emergency kit and make sure that you have an emergency plan and that everyone in your household is familiar with it.
  • Update your first aid kit if necessary.
  • Ensure you have good supplies of any essential medication.
  • Put aside reasonable stocks of fresh water and tinned or dried food, including food for pets.
  • Keep a portable battery-operated radio with fresh batteries as well as a list of Brisbane radio stations to listen to for emergency information.
  • Get fresh batteries and spare bulbs for your torches if necessary, or use a gas operated lantern.
  • Put clothing, valuables and certificates in a waterproof bag and put the bag in a safe place.
  • You will need strong shoes and rubber gloves.
  • Keep your mobile phone close by and fully charged, plus a car charger for your mobile phone if possible.

Clean-up checklist to minimise any damage a storm may cause

  • Check and clean your roof, gutters and downpipes.
  • Secure any loose roof tiles. If you have a problem you can’t deal with, phone the SES for temporary roof repairs or sandbagging.
  • Identify potential hazards such as loose objects or outdoor furniture and toys that need securing.
  • Ensure that your vehicles are under cover or covered with a tarpaulin.
  • Make sure you know how to manually access your home and garage in case of a power failure.
  • Trim tree branches well clear of your house. If your property has large trees that are not protected under Council’s Natural Assets Local Law 2003, arrange for an arborist to carry out a check-up.

Power and utilities

  • Know where and how to switch off water, electricity and gas.
  • If you lose power, leave one light on so that you will know when it comes back on.
  • If you’re cooking when you lose power, turn off all elements on the stove.
  • Turn off and disconnect all appliances, equipment and electronics. If there is a power surge when the power comes back on, they could be damaged.
  • Keep your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible; your food will last longer.  
  • Tune into the local radio station on your portable radio or a car radio to find out when your power will be restored.
  • Use torches and LED lanterns rather than candles, which increase the risk of fire.
  • Use a portable generator with extreme caution. Always use it in a well-ventilated area and connect appliances directly to the generator. 
  • If you have solar panels on the roof these may still be generating electricity even if your lights are out, so stay well away.

QUICK CHECK LISTS

As the storm approaches

  • Have your mobile phone close by and fully charged.
  • Listen to a local radio station for updated information.
  • Disconnect all electrical appliances.
  • Ensure all vehicles are under cover.
  • Take shelter and secure all pets and animals.

When the storm hits

  • Stay indoors.
  • Keep away from windows.
  • If the storm is really severe, remain in the strongest part of the house, which is usually the bathroom or basement.
  • If you are outdoors, find shelter and do not stand under trees – lightning could strike you.
  • Listen to your portable radio for storm updates.
  • If driving, stop clear of trees, powerlines and creeks.
  • Avoid using the telephone during the storm.

After the storm has passed

  • Listen to the local radio station for further warnings and advice.
  • Call 000 (triple zero) for life threatening emergencies only.
  • Call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500 for temporary roof repairs or sandbagging.
  • If you don’t need help, check to see if your neighbours do.
  • Check your house for damage.
  • Stay away from fallen powerlines.
  • Beware of damaged buildings and trees.
  • If it’s flooded, forget it. Don’t attempt to cross flooded roads or watercourses. 
  • To report fallen powerlines, electric shocks or tingles, call Energex on 131 962.

Key Tools to Track Thunderstorms

For some great pics and weather adventures, visit the Brisbane Storm Chasers website at http://www.bsch.au.com.

Photo taken by Ben Quinn, Brisbane Storm Chasers, at ~8:05pm Tuesday, December 24, 2002, from Queens Beach, Scarborough (looking S).