Extreme Weather Preparedness: Essential Tips for Every Household 

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Climate change has brought a strong sense of unpredictability to the weather, especially as different regions have different risks in Australia. It is harder than ever to predict what upcoming seasons will look like in terms of temperature, rainfall, storms, and other weather conditions. This is a concern for many as the increasing frequency of these weather events is coinciding with an increase in severity. 

That is why now, more than ever, it’s essential for every household across Australia to prepare for extreme weather events. Preparing evacuation plans, an emergency kit, or your home in the event of floods, storms, bushfires or heavy rain, could help keep you, your loved ones and your property safer. 

According to NRMA Insurance who sees firsthand the devastation a wild weather event can bring; some 6.37 million Australians are unaware of local extreme weather risks. That’s why they’ve partnered with the Australian Red Cross to launch Help Nation, an initiative that helps unite communities and better prepare. This includes an emergency app you can download and workshops being rolled out across the country to know, understand and better prepare. 

Below are some essential tips to help you start preparing your home for the unthinkable. 

Understanding Your Local Weather Risks 

Australia is a country of extremes and its weather risks are no different. With varied climates across the country, there are a host of weather risks to consider when it comes to national safety. For example, the dry and hot summers of the south lend themselves to an increased risk of bushfires. Particularly with the soaring heat of Australian summers, which has been acknowledged as a greater risk by regional firefighters. 

Understanding the particular local weather risks your area could face, allows you to prepare to the best of your capabilities. Knowing whether or not you will have to keep an eye out for water shortages or damaging lightning storms can help you determine what concerns you will have to focus on most. 

And remember you are part of a community, so know your neighbours or set up a WhatsApp chat in case of emergencies. 

These are the key local weather risks Australians are likely to face: 

  • Floods: A change in climate has caused a significant rise in frequency and intensity of rainfalls across the country. Flash floods have become more common across eastern coastlines and the north. 
  • Bushfires: While Australian flora is built to renew itself after fire, the rash of summer bushfires across the past few years has threatened many Australian homes and lives. This is seen across the country, but particularly in the northern reaches and Western Australia. Despite much rain, fuel load in native fauna remains high. 
  • Heatwaves: Along with the increased risk of bushfires, the hotter Australian days also threaten punishing heatwaves. Homes and people alike need to be prepared ahead of time for these conditions, especially those living in major cities or the countryside. 
  • Severe storms: There are cases where storms are violent enough to include gale-force winds and dangerous lightning strikes. Some of these storms can be sudden in their appearance which can be devastating if one is not prepared. Those along the coastlines need to be aware of most of these events. 

Essential Steps to Weatherproof Your Home 

The first process to prepare your household for extreme weather is weatherproofing the property. Each condition presents its own unique risks, so be sure to prepare your home with the measures best suited for your area’s concerns. It’s also worth checking you are covered for such an event. To get a quote with NRMA Insurance, the most trusted brand in their category, or to check your policy head to  


  • Install storm shutters on windows and doors. 
  • Ensure your gutters and drains are clear. 
  • Cold snaps can be mediated with proper insulation in your home, particularly in the ceilings and roofs. 
  • Protecting any skylights with a mesh screen. 
  • Reinforcing roller doors to withstand wind. 
  • Have measures in place to seal off doors, windows and structural cracks to prevent moisture from getting in. 
  • Make sure your roof is in optimal condition and has no structural damage. 
  • Clear your outdoor environment from any hazards or debris that could be blown around. 
  • Stock up on supplies in case of power outages. 
  • Ensure you have batteries for torches or radio to remain updated 


  • Clean gutters of all flammable debris. 
  • Repair the roof for structural strength if needed. 
  • Repair or cover any gaps in the external walls of the house. 
  • Seal gaps around windows and doors. 
  • Install mesh screens on doors and windows. 
  • Install metal gutter guards. 
  • Attach a fire sprinkler system to your roof. 
  • Enclose the areas under your house. 
  • Install long hoses that can reach your entire property. 
  • Cut back greenery, ensuring none are close to your home. 
  • Place a Static Water Sign (SWS) nearby if you have an outdoor water source to let firefighters know about it if needed. 
  • Ensure you have batteries for torches or radio to remain updated 


  • Elevate your home if possible, such as stilts. 
  • Relocate all power connections to above ground floor. 
  • Build flood walls around your property. 
  • Install waterproof or pedestal flooring. 
  • Install a backup for your sewerage water. 
  • Dig out drainage points around the property. 
  • Use waterproof or resilient materials for your home, including furniture. 
  • Ensure you have batteries for torches or radio to remain updated 

Download the Australian Red Cross’ RediPlan® to help build an Emergency Kit  

For any extreme weather event, it is best to have an emergency kit packed and ready for if or when you have to evacuate. This kit should include everything you need for survival in case you need to leave your home or you cannot leave for several days.  

Developed by Australian Red Cross and NRMA Insurance, the Get Prepared app is a digital emergency plan companion based on Australian Red Cross’ RediPlan® so you can take care of yourself, your loved ones and what’s important. You can Download the app, complete your RediPlan® and share it with your important people. Here, you can also find an update on workshops in your state and community.  

Every emergency kit should include:  

  • Basic first aid kit, along with any needed medication. 
  • Important personal documents and items of value. 
  • Torch. 
  • Spare batteries. 
  • Toiletry essentials. 
  • Can opener. 
  • Non-perishable foods. 
  • Water. 
  • Phone and portable charger. 
  • Battery-operated radio. 
  • Hand sanitiser, wet wipes and tissues. 
  • USB with important documents, photos, and contacts saved on it. 
  • Sturdy gloves. 

For larger emergency packs to last more than three days, you should also include: 

  • Rubbish bags and safety glasses for cleaning up. 
  • Whistle. 
  • Wrench and/or pliers. 
  • Spare clothes. 
  • Baby and/or pet supplies if applicable. 
  • Tarpaulin and ropes. 
  • Safety knife. 
  • Spare cash. 
  • Bedding. 
  • Gas-powered stove and kitchen supplies 

There are plenty of online resources to help you determine what supplies are needed most in your area’s emergency kits.  

Create a Home Emergency Plan 

On top of having an emergency kit available at all times, you can better guarantee the safety of your home and loved ones with a home emergency plan. This plan should consider what needs to be done before an emergency to be ready, what to do during to mitigate harm, and what to do after to get help and return to normal life. 

All emergency plans for your home should include the following: 

  • A list of contacts, including emergency contacts, who you can call for help if needed. 
  • How you will get additional information about the emergency, such as a battery-operated radio. 
  • What to do if some family members are not at home during the emergency. 
  • What to do in the case of you having visitors over during the emergency. 
  • Evacuation plans from your home with consideration to what effect the emergency could have on it. 
  • A place to go if your home is no longer available to stay at. 
  • Different routes to leave your home in case there are blockages or road closures. 
  • A map of your property and consideration of the surrounding location. 
  • Consideration of any unique needs in the family. 

If there are any additional forms of information or strategies you believe are needed in your home emergency plan, do not hesitate to include them. So long as it is viable in any weather risk and is known by all members of the household, it is more than acceptable to follow. 

Insurance Check and Documentation 

If your household is located in an area prone to weather events, you must review and update your insurance policies. By ensuring that your home insurance covers damage from extreme weather events, especially those applicable in your area, your home and loved ones will be better protected.  

It is also beneficial to review or learn how to file a claim to your insurance provider in the event damage does occur from weather. This way you can be best prepared if you will have to repair your home from storm or flood-related damage. 

Certain documents should be stored digitally or physically ahead of time for peace of mind. You can make physical copies to store in your emergency kit or safety deposit box. You can also maintain digital copies on cloud storage or a USB flash drive in your emergency kit. Having multiple means of storing documents is the best way to ensure you have access to these integral documents after an emergency. 

Typical documents that should be stored ahead of an emergency include: 

  • Land titles, mortgages, or leases 
  • Licences 
  • Passports 
  • Birth and adoption certificates 
  • Vehicle registration 
  • Insurance documents 
  • Marriage certificate 
  • Emergency contacts 
  • Visa and immigration documents 
  • Your child’s blue book 
  • Will 
  • Educational, health, and police records 
  • Court orders 
  • Pet microchip numbers 
  • Child support information 
  • Prescriptions 
  • Protection orders and documents 
  • Pension cards 
  • Documents to access payments 

Staying Informed and Alert 

One of the most important parts about preparing for extreme weather events is staying informed and alert of changes. Weather can worsen or move in a new direction unexpectedly quickly at any time, so listening in for new updates can help you protect your home best if suddenly threatened. 

The best sources of information on extreme weather events come from the Bureau of Meteorology, which has live updates on every state in Australia. They even delve into major cities, providing rain radars, satellite images and weather maps to provide a clear picture of how weather events are encroaching on residents. 

You can also be alerted of weather updates by tuning into your local weather station online, through social media, or the radio. There are also apps available to alert you of local weather and potential risks, as well as what to do in the event of these risks approaching your home. These apps typically also include emergency notifications, directly informing you of an event to prepare for. 

Regularly checking these sources of information is the best means of staying informed and alert of extreme weather events. 


It may take some time and effort, but preparing for extreme weather is essential for the safety of your household and loved ones. The tips included in this article create the basis of your household plan, but it is always best to determine what supplies and strategies work best for your family and their unique needs. Always remain informed about potential weather risks in your area and be ready to enact your emergency plan whenever needed. 

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