For many of us, our home is our largest asset. It’s not only a roof over our heads, but somewhere that we and our families can spend a lot of time. In Australia, and particularly Queensland we enjoy our wonderful Aussie weather, however our storms can be both spectacular and destructive. This summer storm season, just make sure you’re prepared – here are our tips, from Suncoast Outdoor Living:
Insurance is critical. Please don’t assume your insurance has everything covered; as many Queenslanders have learnt over the last few years, flood damage is not always an inclusive in your home and building insurance policy. Make sure also, if you have outdoor enclosures, sheds or other additions to your home, that your insurance policy covers these. Check policy specifics or ask your broker. One common example is that some policies will cover storm runoff but not flooding. You can never assume it won’t happen to you.
Trim your trees (with local Council approval), hedges and bushes. Any dead limbs or overhanging trees can cause catastrophic damage, and especially near power lines. Also trimming hedges and bushes which are near or close to your outdoor enclosures, windows and outdoor screens is important. With constant wind, these will brush back and forth and rub – actually damaging the surface. Whilst not a safety issue, it does unnecessary damage your screens, windows or outdoor enclosures. Keeping everything trimmed is sensible practice all year round to avoid damaging these surfaces.
Clear the gutters. We all know that blocked gutter cause a build-up and possible overflow through your roofing into your home. However, how often do we get up there and do the task? Or pick up the phone and organise someone to do it for you? This is one of the most forgotten areas of maintenance because it’s out of sight. Please don’t allow it to become ‘out of sight and out of mind.
Check your roof and roof tiles. Have you ever noticed a darkening patch on your ceiling? This may well be a slow leak in your roof, where the water is sitting on the ceiling and is moist – causing a mould to develop. Mould is not something we want in our homes and of course termites are not desirable. We all know they love damp spots too. So be sure to regularly check your roof, or roof tiles. If you’re not able to safely get up on your roof (or know what to look for) get a roof person in to look at this for you.
Make up a Home Emergency Kit which should be able to sustain you and your family for about 3 days. This might include key phone numbers, medications, torch, spare batteries, portable radio, first-aid kit, food supplies (if cans, don’t forget a can opener!), blankets, clothing, important documents, plastic bags and of course water. If your children are small, perhaps also some things to occupy them (which don’t require electricity). If you have pets, don’t forget them too – food, water, bowl, rope/lead.
Ensure before the storm arrives that you secure loose items; deck chairs or bins can be put away in the garage, versus flying through one of the windows. Listen to storm warnings. Ensure your mobile phones are charged. When any electrical (or severe storm approaches) be sure to disconnect (not just turn off) all your electrical devices such as TV, radio, computers and laptops, modems and kitchen appliances. Finally, close all doors, windows, blinds and curtains and take shelter in the middle (or basement) of your home; hallways, walk in robes and bathrooms are often good options.
Make sure your car is filled with fuel and parked safely under cover. If in a garage, ensure you have a key (as if you lose power, your garage’s remote control won’t work). If parking in a garage is not possible, then don’t park near drains or under trees or in low-lying areas. Cover vehicles with tied down tarpaulins or blankets.
Finally, round up the family and pets – if you have not already. Playing in storms or in flood waters is fraught with danger; everything from being swept away, drowning, to being bitten by snakes or stepping on broken glass. Remember this also after the event, once the storm has passed and the sun is out.
We are passionate about outdoor living, our enclosures and our value clients. We hope you have found this blog useful. With any good information, it’s one thing to read it, but please take a moment to make up an action list to do over the next few weeks. The last thing you’ll want to be doing is standing out on your front lawn the morning after a severe storm and looking at the tree branch jutting out of your roof thinking to yourself “Gee, I wish I’d got that tree trimmed!” As the Boy Scouts say, be prepared. Plan for the worse and hope for the best.
Tony, Garry & and Team from Suncoast Outdoor Living
P.S. Our outdoor living enclosures, pet enclosures and pool enclosures are built solidly and safety to handle our Aussie conditions and summer storms. In order to ensure the safety and well-being of your family and your home, we don’t cut corners or use cheap materials. We’ve been around for the last 10 years, and plan to be around for the next 10 (or more) and we do warranty our work. If you have any questions about your enclosure or your outdoor living area, please feel free to give us a call on 1300 137 081.