Severe weather is a natural part of living in Queensland. St George has been known to experiences severe weather and it's important to take the time to prepare yourself. The following tips offer advice on what you should have in your emergency kit and how to stay safe before, during and after a severe weather event.
Before the storm season begins, prepare an emergency kit
Storm emergency kit
Prepare an emergency kit with these suggested items:
· a portable battery operated radio and torch with fresh or spare batteries and bulb
· candles with waterproof matches or a gas lantern
· reasonable stocks of fresh water and tinned or dried food
· a first aid kit and basic first aid knowledge
· good supplies of essential medication
· strong shoes and rubber gloves
· a waterproof bag for clothing and valuables – put valuables and certificates in the bag and put the bag in a safe place
· a list of your emergency contact numbers
As the storm approaches
When a severe storm approaches, make sure you have your mobile phone close by, and it has a fully charged battery. Listen to a local radio station for information and disconnect all electrical appliances.
When the storm strikes
When a severe storm strikes, stay inside, keep away from windows and remain in the strongest part of the house which is usually the bathroom or cellar. If you are outdoors, find emergency shelter and do not stand under trees.
· listen to your portable radio for storm updates
· if driving, stop clear of trees, powerlines and creeks
· avoid using the telephone during the storm
After the storm passes
after the storm has passed, listen to your local radio for official warnings and advice. If you need emergency assistance, phone
· 000 (triple zero) - for life threatening emergencies
· the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500
It's important after a storm to:
· check your house for damage
· stay away from fallen powerlines.
· beware of damaged buildings, trees and flooded watercourses
· be available to help neighbors if required
Understanding flood warnings
BOM issues a number of different types of warnings before and during weather events which could result in flooding. Triggers to listen and watch out for include:
· flood warnings, severe weather and thunderstorm warnings, especially those mentioning the possibility of flash flooding
· prolonged heavy rain
· rising creeks and rivers, and localized pooling of water.
Where to access warnings
Warnings are sent from BOM to media, Council, Department of Emergency Services and other agencies involved in managing severe weather and flood response activities. The list below identifies ways for you to access warning information.
· internet - Bureau of Meteorology website
· radio - tune into your local radio station
· television - watch out for televised weather updates
· BOMs weather service - online or by phone 1300 659 219 (local call charges apply)
Interpreting flood warnings
Minor flooding - Causes inconvenience. Low-lying areas next to watercourses are inundated which may require the removal of stock and equipment. Minor roads may be closed and low-level bridges submerged.
Moderate flooding - In addition to the above, the evacuation of some houses may be required. Main traffic routes may be cut by flood waters.
Major flooding - In addition to the above, extensive areas are inundated. Properties and suburbs are likely to be isolated and major traffic routes likely to be closed. Evacuation of people from flood-affected areas may be required.
Flood waters can be dangerous. Be aware of the following:
Drowning - do no play in or near stormwater drains. During a flood, water moves quickly through drains that may be dry for most of the year.
Currents - Don't walk or swim in flood waters. As little as 15 centimeters of moving water can knock you off your feet.
Electrocution - Stay clear of fallen powerlines and electrical wires. Electricity passes easily through water.
Contamination - Wash your hands and feet with soap if you do come into contact with flood water. Sewage or chemicals can be found in flood water.
Slipping - Tread carefully. Slippery surfaces can cause falls and injuries.
Wildlife - Be aware that there may be displaced and stressed wildlife inside your home and yard. Wildlife lose their homes in flood too.
Driving and road safety
Roads often become flooded before water affects homes. It is important that you stay informed of local road conditions to prevent you and your family from becoming isolated.
Many drivers rescued from flood waters report that they were in a hurry to get home to safety as a reason for tempting the danger of driving into water. Regardless of the type of car and despite what car commercials show, driving into flood waters is dangerous considering:
· most flood-related deaths occur at night and involve cars driving on flooded roads
· creeks and rivers can rise very quickly and the road surface can also wash away making the water much deeper than it appears
· once cars are swept downstream they will often roll to one side or perhaps flip over entirely. The driver and occupants have little time to escape the vehicle
It is natural to want to stay and protect your home and valuables.
However, as flood waters rise, dangers increase and evacuation may be required.
Council works with may government and community groups to manage flood events as smoothly as possible. If you are asked to evacuate, do so immediately. You may consider finding safer temporary accommodation such as a friend or relative's house. If you are evacuating voluntarily, remember to tell a relative or neighbour or Friend where you are going.
Emergency shelters can change depending on where the water is.
Before you evacuate, remind your family or other household members of your central contact point in case you get separated. Make sure each household member has important phone numbers with them.