SES Queensland urges action before first cyclone arrives
Queensland's SES is reminding residents to prepare their homes now for summer storms and cyclones.
SES Townsville region team leader Steve Murphy said one of the biggest mistakes north Queenslanders made was leaving preparation to the last minute.
"Over a period of time we get a bit complacent with it, leave it to the 11th hour," Mr Murphy said.
"Leaving it to the last minute, then panicking, then racing out panic buying at shops, trying to get accommodation, trying to leave town ... a lot of the time it is through little preparation or poor house maintenance," he said.
Mr Murphy said everyone needed to have an emergency plan, an emergency kit and to have their homes prepared well ahead of any disaster.
An emergency plan
An emergency plan should outline the household's strategy for when a disaster hits — where they will evacuate to, where they will stay, family and emergency agency contacts.
Everyone should know where the plan is kept and the plan should be rehearsed ahead of a disaster.
An emergency kit
An emergency kit should have enough food and water to last the household for three days, in addition to torches, batteries, medical supplies, important documents and some cash.
Mr Murphy said during a storm emergency services would be bunkered down too, so people needed to be self-sufficient.
A well-prepared yard will have items underneath or inside the house and boats tied down, and anything that could become a missile in high winds needs to be secured.
Mr Murphy said from an insurance perspective residents could be liable for items from their yard causing damage to a neighbours' property.
"Because you have got flying debris from your home, somebody may be wanting compensation for it," he said.
Gutters should be cleaned out to prevent flooding and collapse of roof soffits.
Cyclone rods should be tightened every 12 months.
"If they are nice and secure, great, if they are not we get the vibration effect in a cyclone and that escalates and we get damage," he said.
Mr Murphy said if you were not confident preparing your home or checking to see if it was cyclone-safe, then get someone competent to help you.
"We can survive cyclones if we do the right thing," he said.
More information about preparation for storms and cyclones can be found on the 101.5 FM Summer Storms Information.