How to storm-proof your home

Living Well | RACV | Posted on 09 August 2019

From heavy rain and damaging winds to flash flooding, here's how to weather a storm.

Victorians are being advised to brace themselves for some of the the year's worst weather, with emergency services issuing extreme weather warnings and some flood warnings for areas across the state.

Damaging winds overnight brought down trees and caused some building damage across Melbourne, particularly in bayside suburbs such as Mornington, Mount Eliza and Rye, according to the SES. There have also been reports of damage to Frankston Pier, with a 20-metre section of the pier breaking off due to violent wind and strong waves.

Rain pouring down over bust Flinderst St in Melbourne

A spokeswoman says about 300 calls for assistance were made from 6am to 10am today as people woke to find damaged roofs or trees blocking roads, while 157 people called for help overnight.

People are advised to secure their properties, move vehicles away from trees and drive to suit the weather conditions.

RACV senior transport manager Peter Kartsidimas warns motorists to take care on the roads and avoid driving in bad conditions.

He says motorists should drive to the conditions, leaving extra space between their car and the vehicle in front. He also advises drivers to ensure windscreen wipers are in good condition, turn on headlights to low beam, use the vehicle’s air-conditioner to prevent the windscreen from fogging up and pull over if necessary.

The overnight storms and winds are a sobering reminder to make sure your property is storm proof and you know how to stay safe at home and on the road.

So, before the next storm hits be sure to: 

  1. Check your roof: Fix any damage, like cracked, broken or loose tiles, to prevent water damage.
  2. Clean your gutters: Regularly remove leaves and other debris from gutters, downpipes and drains to prevent water overflowing into the roof cavity.
  3. Watch your trees: Cut back any trees overhanging your house or other buildings, including the carport.
  4. Make up your emergency kit: Pack a torch (in case of power failure) and personal essentials such as medication in a waterproof container and keep it handy.
  5. Check your outdoor areas: Identify outdoor furniture, play equipment and other items that need to be tied down before bad weather hits.

If you require SES assistance call 132 500. For life-threatening emergencies dial triple zero (000).

Storm safety checklist

Before the storm

  • Check the Bureau of Meteorology and SES websites for warnings, especially in heavy rain.
  • Secure loose items in the garden (chairs, trampolines, hoses) and ensure sails and awnings are correctly stored.
  • Unplug all non-essential electrical devices to avoid power surge damage.
  • Check your roof for damage or corrosion that may allow leaks.
  • Park undercover if possible and avoid trees.
  • Move cars, caravans and other valuables to higher ground if you’re concerned about flooding.
  • Ensure your insurance policy is up-to-date and provides adequate coverage.

During the storm

  • Keep doors, windows and curtains closed.
  • Switch off non-essential electronics during storms.
  • Do not fix any damage caused by the storm until it has passed.
  • If you need to evacuate, turn off the gas, water and electricity before you go.
  • Do not drive through floodwater.
  • Avoid creeks, drains, streams, fallen trees, power lines and damaged buildings.
  • Listen to your local emergency broadcaster.

After the storm

  • For major damage, call the SES.
  • Find out more about RACV Emergency Home Assist.
  • Contact your insurance company to make a claim.
  • Keep away from trees and fallen power lines.
  • Watch out for roads affected by flooding, debris or fallen trees.

Planning ahead

  • Read and plan with the SES Home Emergency Plan.
  • Know where your torches and batteries are located.
  • Prepare a first-aid kit with important documents, photos, clothing and medications should you need to leave.
  • Clean guttering and drainpipes regularly.
  • Check your roof for loose tiles or other problems.
  • Trim bushes or trees that could damage windows in a storm.
  • Know where your gas, electricity and water mains are, in case you need to turn them off.