Storm Season – Are you ready for it?

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by Sean Murphy

We are blessed to have this climate and the opportunity it brings to those with adventurous hearts and the need to explore and discover. For some of us in certain parts of Australia, summer can be a bit more than just a soar in temperatures.   With all the good that summer brings to our lives, there’s a price you have to pay and mother nature makes sure you know about it, loudly and clearly.

First up you have the constant heat that never seems to ease, the oppressive humidity, the influx of insects (most of which are good, but you can keep mosquitos) not to mention planning your day around being in as much free air conditioning as possible.  And then of course come the storms.

You’ve got to admit there’s bit of a thrill in watching the storm clouds gather, birds fly off singing out their warnings, the sky darkens, lightening begins to crackle in the clouds and a sudden gusty wind begins to blow.  Then you hear the first rumble of thunder and it’s showtime!

A good thunderstorm is mostly welcome in the afternoon following a muggy day to clear the air and cool the earth down. But sometimes storms become bigger than what we can handle and then they become completely unwelcome.

There’s no shortage of news stories in the summer months showing mother nature wreaking havoc across the land, destroying crops, bringing down power lines, causing flash flooding, killing livestock, and also unfortunately taking human lives.

If you live in areas affected by storm season, this is an all too familiar story.  And no doubt you are always asking the question how can you be really prepared for such chaos that a large storm can bring?  It’s an unpredictable situation, but learn from what you experienced before, what you found yourself without before, and what you lost before.

Pre-empt the common scenarios.  As current public announcements ha asked on tv and the radio “What’s your plan?”

Do you have the right supplies to last you through power cuts?  What about food?  How will you communicate with loved ones when you are stranded?  There are numerous questions you need to ask yourself.  Know what’s at risk, and keep your family safe.

The first thing you can do while preparing for the storm season is to secure your outside furniture, cut down and dead or frail looking branches, keep gutters clear.  Prevent as many possible missiles that could be made airborne due to cyclonic winds.  Keep items such as torches, vehicle safety equipment, medical kits in a handy location, somewhere quick and easy to assess during an emergency.

So you’ve thought about the emergency plans, what about the items you’d need to survive a natural disaster?  You might want to start thinking of a checklist, for example:

Medical Kits.  First and foremost.  Ensure the kit is equipped with the right items to help with storm related injuries, and within expiry dates.

Headlamps.  More preferable to a standard hand held torch as they keep you free to use both hands at the same time.

Vehicle Saftey Equipment.  Such as the eQuip Hand-Held Rescue Tool, a small device that helps cut through seatbelts and break windscreens. Essential if you ever get caught out driving when the storm breaks and roads become flooded.

Freeze-Dried Food.  Who knows long you can be stranded for after the chaos of a big storm.  You could be cut off for days.  Have some freeze-dried meals in your cupboard/trailer just in case.

Water purification.  During a flood, you could be surrounded by water, but none of which could be safe to drink.

Chargers/Batteries.  When the power goes out, and can do for days on end, how will you charge your phone or laptop?  They could be the only sources you have to communicate with the outside world.  The Powertraveller range specialises in products to assist in such situations.

Dry sacks.  When wading through waist high water to get to safety, you’ll need to keep essential items such as phones, medication or maps dry.

Prepare and keep vigilant.  Be as up to date as possible and be aware of any local flooding.  If power lines are down, don’t approach them.  If the road is flooding, turn around.  Know where your loved ones are at all times.  Keep emergency equipment close at hand and make sure everyone in the household knows.  Secure outside furniture and utilities.  Take the time to make this a routine every storm season, especially if you are living in regions frequently affected by them.  Be prepared and stay safe.