(Content provided by: Department of Emergency Services, Queensland)
There are a number of simple things that you and your family can do to stay safe and protect your property.
What you should do:
Check that your home is in a sound condition, especially the roof and eaves.
Trim any tree branches hanging over your roof.
Clear your property of any loose items that may blow about.
Check that you have adequate household and contents insurance and which hazards are not covered by the policy.
Prepare an emergency kit containing:
A portable radio, torch and spare batteries;
A first aid kit, manual and masking tape for windows;
Plastic sheeting, timber strips, a hammer and nails.
A list of emergency phone numbers handy, including numbers for your local Police, Fire, Ambulance, State Emergency Service, Local Council, Gas and Electricity Company and Relatives.
When a severe storm approaches
What you should do:
Listen to your local radio station for regular storm 'Advice' and 'Warnings'.
Shelter and secure pets and animals.
Move outdoor items, garden furniture, toys etc. inside. Fill your bins with water, or place them in your swimming pool.
Shelter vehicles or cover with tied tarpaulins/blankets.
Secure doors and windows and draw the curtains/blinds.
Place valuables, medications, and warm clothing in plastic bags along with your emergency kit.
Disconnect electrical items and outside TV/radio aerials.
Correct Potential Hazards Before a Disaster
(Content provided by: NCSU Extension Service)
During and right after a disaster, any household item that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire becomes a home hazard. To minimize possible danger, inspect your home now to find and correct potential hazards.
Check for electrical hazards
Replace frayed or cracked extension and appliance cords, loose prongs, and plugs.
Make sure there is only one plug per outlet. Avoid using cube-taps or overloading outlets. If you must use an extension cord, use a cord that’s rated for the electrical load and no longer than is really needed.
Remove electrical cords that run under rugs or over nails, heaters, or pipes.
Cover exposed outlets and wiring.
Repair or replace appliances that overheat, short out, smoke, or spark.
Check for chemical hazards
Store flammable liquids like gasoline, acetone, and lacquer thinner in approved safety cans in a storage area located away from the home. Place containers in a well-ventilated area and close the lids tightly. Secure the containers to prevent spills.
If flammable materials must be stored in the home, use a storage can with an Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) approved label. Move materials away from heat sources, open flames, gas appliances, and children.
Keep combustible liquids like paint thinner, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, and turpentine away from heat sources.
Store oily waste and polishing cloths in covered metal cans.
Instruct family members not to use gasoline or other flammable fluids for starting fires or cleaning indoors.
Check for fire hazards
Clear out old cloths, papers, mattresses, broken furniture, and other combustible materials.
Move clothes, curtains, cloths, and paper goods away from electrical equipment, gas appliances, or flammable materials.
Remove dried grass cuttings, tree trimmings, and weeds from the property.
Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.
Keep heaters and candles away from curtains and furniture.
Keep portable heaters on level surfaces, away from high traffic areas. Purchase portable heaters equipped with automatic shut-off switches, and don’t use them with extension cords.
Check fire safety equipment
Install at least one smoke detector on each level of the home, especially near the bedrooms. Test detectors every month and change batteries at least once a year.
Keep at least one fire extinguisher (ABC-type) on hand. Maintain and recharge according to manufacturer’s instructions. Show all family members where it’s kept and make sure they know how to use it.
Check items that can shift or fall
Anchor water heater, large appliances, bookcases, tall or heavy furniture, shelves, mirrors, and pictures to wall studs.
Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
Install clips, latches, or other locking devices on cabinet doors.
Provide strong support and flexible connections on gas appliances, including the water heater.
Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds and places where people sit.
Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations.
Check your utilities
Locate the main electric fuse or circuit breaker box, water service shut-off, and natural gas main shut-off.
Contact local utility companies for instructions on how to turn off the utilities.
Teach family members when and how to turn off utilities.
Clear the area around shutoff switches for easy access. Gas and water
Attach shut-off wrench or specialty tool to a pipe or other location close by the gas and water shut-off valves.
Paint shut-off valves with white or fluorescent paint to increase visibility.
Plan how to escape from your home in the event of an emergency. Identify at least two exits from each room. Clear doors, hallways, and stairs of obstructions. Conduct emergency drills. Practice daytime and nighttime escapes, and pick a safe meeting place outside the home.