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Winter Safety - Thunderstorms

All thunderstorms can be dangerous, and coming into the winter months it is important to know how to protect your family and home in the event of a dangerous storm.

In Australia, thunderstorms can produce hail, wind gusts, flash floods, tornadoes and lightning which have caused numerous deaths, injuries and damage to properties.

In Perth, we are lucky enough that thunderstorms are a rarity yet it is important to make sure that you have an emergency plan in place and up-to-date so that in the event of a storm you are prepared. We suggest you make sure that each member of your household knows what to do in the event of an emergency and the location of your emergency kit.

What do I include in a basic emergency supply kit?
• Water – At least four litres of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
• Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
• Flashlight and extra batteries.
• First aid kit.
• Whistle to signal for help.
• Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
• Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food).
• Local Maps.

What can you do to prepare for a severe storm?
• Be aware of severe storm patterns in your area by signing up for the Early Warning Network. This network alerts via free phone call or text message from your local emergency authority, if they’re part of the Network to alert you of severe weather in your area.
• Trim trees, remove overgrown branches and clear gutters and downpipes, clear yard of loose materials and rubbish.
• Check your roof is in good repair. If not, secure loose roof tiles or sheets of iron.
• Insulate walls and attic.
• Protect sky lights with wire mesh and fit glass windows and doors with shutters or insect screens.
• Prepare a household emergency kit and make sure all family members know where the kit is located.
• Check boats are secured, moored, or protected on land.
• Check home insurance is current and adequate. Does your insurance cover the cost of cleaning up and disposing of building debris?

What can I do when a storm approaches?
• Use a battery powered radio to tune into a local ABC radio station for severe storm advice and warnings.
• Shelter and secure household pets.
• Secure loose garden furniture, garden umbrellas, and large toys in the garage, garden shed or inside.
• Park vehicles under solid shelter or cover with firmly tied tarpaulins or old blankets.
• Secure all external doors and windows and draw curtains.
• Keep valuables, medications, spare clothing in plastic bags and your emergency kit handy.
• Disconnect all electrical items, external TV and radio aerials and computer modems.

What can I do when a severe storm strikes?
• Listen to your portable radio for severe storm updates.
• Stay inside and shelter well clear of windows, doors and skylights.
• If the building starts to break up, shelter in the strongest part (cellar, internal room, hallway, or build-in wardrobe) under a mattress, doona or a strong table or bench.
• If outdoors, seek solid enclosed shelter.
• If driving, stop clear of trees, power lines and streams.
• Don’t use a fixed telephone during a severe storm due to lightning danger.

What can I do after a severe storm has hit?
• Tune into your local ABC station again for any official advice or further warnings.
• Check for structural property damage and cover with plastic sheeting.
• For emergency assistance contact the SES or contact your local council. These numbers are listed on your emergency plan in your emergency kit.
• Beware of fallen power lines and trees, damaged buildings, flooded watercourses and check your neighbours are safe.
• Ensure all family members take care removing branches and debris and avoid concealed fallen power lines.
• If you discover fallen power lines, keep everyone well clear and call your electricity provider.
• Check the power lines passing your house and going to your house are securely in place.