If you’ve ever experienced a flood, you’ll know why it’s one of the costliest natural disasters. Water finds its way into everything and can cause extensive damage that’s both difficult and expensive to fix.
Floods often happen with little warning and water can rise quickly, so be prepared and have a plan in place well before extreme weather arrives. Even if you’re not in an area that’s designated as a flood risk, some basic preparation can help minimise the impact of wild weather on your home and belongings.
Know your risk.
Know your risk, check with your local floodplain management authority to see whether your property is at a high risk of flooding. Depending on where you live this could be the local council, catchment management authority, water authority, or territory government. Remember that flood-related planning and building controls only apply to the highest-risk areas, so ensure that you ask about the risk from potential flood events larger than the 1% AEP flood.
Check your insurance policy to see if you are covered for flood damage. If you are covered by CGU and need information on how to claim after a flood, you can find helpful information here.
Put a plan in place.
Put together an emergency kit in a watertight box or bag you can easily grab if you need to. Prepare a flood plan – a helpful step by step plan to follow in the event of a flood and keep it with your emergency kit. Make sure everyone in your office or home knows where the plan and emergency kit are kept. It’s also a good idea to have a list of emergency phone numbers both in your phone memory and printed out and in plain sight.
Check your insurance.
Check your home, business and contents insurance, as many properties are not covered for flood. If you are insured with CGU and want more information about your policy, speak to your insurance broker, or contact us on 13 24 81.
What to do if you suspect a flood is on the way.
- Locate your emergency kit or put one together consisting of first aid items, enough water for every employee or member of your household, canned or packaged food, can opener, battery-operated radio, a torch, spare batteries and warm clothing.
- Ensure you have emergency numbers and important information handy, including the details of local relief centres and evacuation routes.
- Where you can, secure hazardous or sharp items.
- Ensure special and important items such as your will, important business documents, jewellery, personal documents, sentimental items, photos, medicines and other valuables area secured. (Plastic zip-lock bags are great for these items but to be sure they’re watertight you might want to double bag, just to be sure).
- Move what items you can to a higher place. Put furniture and rugs onto desks and tables. Place unplugged electrical items on top of furniture. Be careful if you're putting things up in your roof space or on an upper level, as these areas may not be able to safely support extra weight.
- Empty your fridge and freezer and leave the doors open to stop the appliances from floating.
- Turn off the electricity, gas and water.
- If you have access to sandbags, place them in the toilet bowl and over floor drain holes to stop sewage from flowing back inside.
- If you have time, seal doors and windows with plastic, silicon or plywood. Also, put sandbags where you can for added support.
Do you stay or go?
The safest place to be during a flood is outside the floodplain. If you are evacuating during a flood, take all safety precautions and listen to the advice of your local emergency services, including whether you should stay or go, particularly when driving. Floodwaters that reach the bottom of a car door can be enough to carry a vehicle away, so never drive through floodwaters. Driving through floodwaters is one of the biggest contributing factors to fatalities during floods. Having a flood plan in place can take the stress out of evacuating and potentially save lives. Stay informed, stay alert and most of all, stay safe.
Monitor Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) forecasts and warnings online and listen to your local radio for updates and if in doubt, call emergency services. Don’t be tempted to try to drive through floodwaters if you don't know how deep it is or how fast it's flowing.
Find out more about what you can do to keep safe after a flood at www.floodsafe.com.au.
Find out more about flooding in Australia here.
This page provides general advice that CGU Insurance has sourced from emergency services. For up-to-date and specific advice relating to the risks in your area please speak to your local council or emergency services.