It isn’t hard to plan for a cyclone, but leaving everything to the last minute will create unnecessary headaches for you and your family.
Shops run out of batteries, the queues at petrol stations go round the block and there’s a risk some family members won’t be clear on what to do when a cyclone arrives. Thinking ahead not only makes life easier, it may actually save your life.
Here are a few tips to help you create a household cyclone plan before it’s too late:
• Find out whether your property could be affected by a storm tide or surge (see www.securent.nt.gov.au for the latest storm surge area map).
• Have your emergency cyclone kit ready. Remember it needs to sustain every person in your household for at least 72 hours.
• Plan where your family will shelter; either by leaving Darwin, sheltering in your coded home or with friends in their coded home. Public shelters and some underground car parks are also options. Pets are only allowed to shelter with their families in the designated underground car parks and not in public shelters, so remember to plan for their safety too
• If you plan to go to a public shelter, prepare your house and decide on the route you will take.
• If you plan to leave town, leave early, be prepared to stay away for several days or longer and ensure you have sufficient food and water to sustain your family.
• If there is a chance your family may be separated include details of how to contact each other or agree on a meeting place in your emergency plan. It’s recommended you arrange an out-of-town friend or relative to be a single point of contact.
• Make a list of what you will need to take along if you’re evacuated and keep it with your emergency plan.
• Don’t leave your decisions to the last moment.
• If you have your own transport, remember to fill it with fuel as early as possible.
Other things to keep in mind are:
• Speak to your neighbours and tell each other your plans.
• If you or anyone else in your house requires medication, ensure you or they are well stocked.
• Homeowners, especially those along the foreshore, should install proper storm shutters on doors and windows.
• Keep enough cash on you for necessities, including change for pay phones.
• Beware of the calm eye of the storm and don’t go outside until advised it is safe to do so.
• Check you have adequate household and/or contents insurance that cover natural disasters.
• Know how to turn off your power, gas and water supplies at the mains.