VolunteersStorms generally impact the southern part of Western Australia from May to October and may cause widespread or localised damage. Storms not only cause damage to homes, property and businesses, they also pose a threat to people, animals and the environment.

The impact of storms can be lessened with advance planning and by preparing your home and family to stay safe and reduce the damage. Reliable weather forecasting means that we usually receive some warning before a storm is due to impact our region, giving us some time to get ready.

To keep informed about the latest weather information visit www.bom.gov.au or call 1300 659 210 and select Option 5.

Under state government legislation, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services is the Hazard Management Authority for storm and floods are therefore responsible for managing storm and flood emergency events.

The State Emergency Service is a volunteer division of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and play a vital role in assisting communities during natural disasters. The contact number is 132 500.

The SES has these tips to help you and your family prepare before the storm season:

  • Trim branches around your home to prevent them falling on your roof or car and hire a contractor to clear trees from power lines.
  • Check your roof and gutters for damage or loose material. Replace any damaged or missing tiles.
  • Clear gutters and downpipes of leaves and blockages so they don’t over flow after heavy rain.
  • Store or weigh down loose objects around your home like outdoor furniture, playground equipment and sheds.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with a portable battery operated radio, torch, spare batteries and a first aid kit.
  • Be aware that after a bad storm services such as power, telephones lines, water, sewerage and gas may not work.
  • Charge your mobile phone to ensure you have reception.
  • Prepare an emergency kit and an emergency plan including a relocation plan in case your home becomes flooded after heavy rain or flash flooding.
  • Consider what you will do with your pets.
  • Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies.
  • Prepare a hard-copy list of important phone numbers. Visit the DFES website for up to date contact numbers.
  • If you are away from home contact family or friends to prepare your property.

When bad weather is expected:

  • Park vehicles and boats under shelter.
  • Ensure pets and animals are in a safe area.
  • Unplug electrical appliances and avoid using landline telephones if there is lightning.
  • If flooding is possible, create your own sandbags by using pillow cases filled with sand and place them around doorways to protect your home.
  • Boat owners should securely moor their boats or make sure they are protected on land.
  • Campers should find safe shelter away from trees, powerlines, storm water drains and streams.
  • Make sure all loose items that may be blown around are secured.

When bad weather starts:

  • Listen to local ABC radio (AM630) for storm alerts and weather conditions.
  • Close your curtains and blinds, and stay inside away from windows.
  • If caught outside find safe shelter away from trees, powerlines, storm water drains and streams.
  • If boating, swimming or surfing leave the water.

If you are driving during a storm:

  • Do not drive into water of unknown depth and current.
  • Slow down and turn headlights on.
  • Be alert and watch for hazards on the road such as fallen power lines.
  • If visibility is poor put on your hazard lights and pull over to the side of the road in a safe area until conditions improve.

After severe storms some services may not be working such as power, telecommunications, gas, water and sewerage. Due to potential damage you may need emergency accommodation, welfare support services, money, food or water.

Emergency services and the City of Albany will keep the community informed of any evacuation and recovery centres that are established in response to an emergency.

Once the storm has passed you are advised to:

  • Keep away from flooded drains, rivers, streams and waterways.
  • Be careful of fallen trees, damaged buildings and moving debris.
  • Be aware of fallen power lines as they are dangerous and should always be treated as live.
  • Check on friends and neighbours to see if they need help.
  • Check the welfare of pets and animals.
  • Assess your home and property for potential damage. If damage has occurred take photographs and if insured contact your insurance company .

The SES contact number is 132 500. The SES will assist with:

  • Significant structural damage like collapsed roofs or ceilings.
  • Making temporary emergency repairs to homes and buildings.
  • Removing fallen trees that have damaged homes and cars.
  • Sandbagging areas in danger of flooding.
  • Pumping out flood water.
  • Rescuing trapped or injured people, and helping people relocate if they are in danger.

The SES will NOT assist with:

  • Clearing debris and organising permanent repairs.
  • Attending to broken fences, trees that have fallen on fences or debris around your property or in your pool.
  • Basic repairs that you can manage yourself.

If your home has been damaged:

  • Be careful of debris and damaged buildings.
  • Assess your home, property and car for damage; take photographs as soon as possible for insurance purposes.
  • If asbestos has been damaged on your property you should seek professional advice before attempting any repairs or clean up.
  • Start cleaning up around your home. Stack loose material such as branches and debris away from water meters, valves and telephone lines.
  • Contact your insurance company if you have damage and to organise permanent repairs. Most insurance companies provide 24 hour service and may be able to provide you with temporary accommodation, food and cash for immediate hardship.
  • Do not attempt any repairs unless qualified as this may put you or your family at risk, or cause further damage that may not be covered by your insurer.
  • Ensure your home is secure if you leave as you are responsible for the security of your home until assessment.