Darwin's wet season is well known for its high humidity, monsoonal rains and storms; occurring from November to April.
And while October to December brings excitingly spectacular lightning storms across the state, we need to remember that preparing our homes for cyclones is imperative.
It's time to start thinking about the steps required to be prepared for the wet season - for the safety of our family, friends, homes and belongings.
The following steps will help you plan for the unexpected, and ease or eliminate some of the stress and worry that is brought on by the possibility of a cyclone.
Step 1 - Preparing an emergency plan
Family discussions should be taking place right about now, if not already, to plan out an emergency plan. Make sure to diarize major activities over this period - think about who will be home and who won't, and how you'll stay in touch.
Prepare an emergency phone list, and designate roles for each family member in the occurrence of an emergency. Also plan out arrangements for pets, this could include transport cages and feeding/water bowls.
Make sure a place of shelter is decided upon - in the case that an evacuation is required.
In this technology driven society we must also remember to be mobile phone prepared. This includes:
- Setting up a free weather alert which is tailored to your postcode
- Making sure all required contact numbers are saved in your phone
- Pre-download smartphone apps which can keep you informed, like DisasterWatch and SecureNT
- Keep an extra car-phone charger in your emergency kit
Step 2 - Preparing your emergency kit
In the event of a cyclone, essential services will most likely be affected, and of course provisions will be needed to sustain your family for three plus days (so pre-planning is key here).
Stock up on the following items and remember that these items should be stored together, ready to take with you if a cyclone hits:
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, family photos)
- Emergency money including coins for public telephones
- Enough water to keep you and your family hydrated for at least 72 hours
- Enough food to feed you and your family for at least 72 hours (canned food, long-life milk)
- Two spare outfits of protective clothing for each household member
- Medication and special needs for infants, the elderly or disabled
- Sheets, blankets, sleeping bags and pillows
- First aid kit
- Batteries, phone charger and a battery operated radio
- Torch, candles and matches
- Fuel cans for your car
- Pet supplies
- Toiletry items
- Games or books to keep the kids happy
Step 3 - Preparing your home
In preparing the house for a potential cyclone, start by trimming all branches and tree tops with council approval, remove any loose items that could cause injury or damage during extreme winds.
It is essential that you check your house is built to code and well maintained, so that you can decide well beforehand where you intend to shelter.
If your home is likely subject to flooding, identify your nearest safe high ground. If sheltering at home is not an option, decide where you will find shelter and the quickest route there.
Step 4 - Know the warning signs
Going into the wet season, all Northern Territory dwellers should be 'in the know' when it comes to understanding warning signs, and keep on top of advice and instructions given by emergency services.
Think about the following four points, and read up on the relevant information from the NT Emergency Service here.
- What to do when a warning has been issued
- What to do when an evacuation message has been issued
- What to do during the cyclone
- What to do after the cyclone hits
Please click here to view the emergency shelters and car parks in Darwin and the Greater Darwin region.
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