Get out your thunderwear, the rains are here… and we can’t say we didn’t ask for them.
Truth be told, when you’re in drought, overflowing water levels aren’t exactly a concern.
Yet here we are – and while many bushfire-ravaged parts of the state are welcoming this week’s heavy downpour with open arms, there’s just as much unease about the impact of flash flooding, wind damage and risk to our drinking water quality that the heavy rain has brought with it.
In short, we’re not yet out of the woods from damaging weather conditions – and authorities are warning homeowners to prepare their toolkits for flood risk, too.
So here’s a few tips that we’ve gathered to keep your head above water (literally).
Firstly, size up the risk by checking for flood levels in your area, as this will determine the future action you should take. This can be done by clicking here (yes, there’s a website for this too!) or heading to ses.nsw.gov.au.
If your home address is at a medium likelihood (or above) for flood risk, there’s a few things to consider:
Check for flood cover in your home insurance.
It’s worth knowing what your home is protected for in the event of flood damage. If it’s included in your policy, contact your insurer to ask what the sum is of your cover – and perhaps whether or not your premium will be affected by current conditions.
Given the unpredictable and isolating nature of flooding, it’s important to put a plan in place of where you will go should you need to evacuate. In the plan make sure you have State Emergency Service (SES) contact details at hand, and to communicate your intentions with friends and family – you might want to check in with neighbours, too.
Another important measure that can reduce significant stress in an emergency is to have all personal documents and items gathered, as well as essential recovery items (toiletries, change of clothes, etc) packed in an ‘emergency kit’ for quick access.
Put in place protective measures for your home.
Before floodwater hits, there’s a few actions you can take to reduce potential damage to your home. These include:
- Clearing gutters and drains of any debris to avoid these becoming blocked
- Securing any loose objects such as outdoor equipment
- Moving furniture to the highest point in your home
- Purchasing sandbags
Or, in the event of higher flood risk:
- Switching off all electrical components
- Elevating electronics on benches or secured furniture
- Turning off electrical switchboards and gas connections
- Moving sandbags in front of openings to slow or divert flood waters
Whether by vehicle or by foot, remember to avoid entering flood waters at all costs. It’s not only rising levels and currents that are hazardous, but also what’s present in the water – bacteria, chemicals, drains and potentially fallen power lines, all of which are often invisible to the eye.