The aftermath of the August 1998 storm which saw severe flash flooding in the Illawarra

Our region is particularly prone to wind storms during the winter months
It's a good idea to be prepared for any emergency. A family emergency kit can make a big difference to your family's safety, particularly in a flood or storm. Your kit should include:
  • A portable radio and torch with fresh batteries.
  • Bottled water and tinned food.
  • A first aid kit and basic first aid knowledge.
  • Good supplies of essentail medication.
  • Special needs for family members (such as nappies for babies).
  • Strong shoes and rubber gloves.
  • A waterproof bag for clothing, important documents and valuables.
  • Your emergency contact numbers.

Before the storm season, do the following:
  • Trim tree branches well clear of your house.
  • Make sure your family emergency kit is ready.
  • Keep your yard clear of loose objects (such as toys, bicycles and lawn furniture).
  • Clean and check the roof, guttering and downpipes.

If a storm is approaching:
  • Listen to local radio for information.
  • Bring children and pets indoors.
  • Park your car under cover or away from trees.
  • Disconnect all electrical appliances.

During the storm:
  • Stay inside and shelter well clear of windows.
  • Listen to your portable radio for storm updates.
  • Avoid using the telephone during the storm.
  • If outdoors find emergency shelter (not under a tree).
  • If driving, stop clear of trees, power lines or streams.
  • Keep clear of drains and creek beds.

After the storm:
  • Check your house for damage.
  • Listen to local radio for official warnings/advice.
  • If you need help, ring the SES on 132 500.
  • If you don't need help, check your neighbours.
  • Keep clear of fallen power lines, damaged buildings and trees, storm drains and creek beds.

It's helpful to know about the history of flooding in your area. Ask your council or SES Unit about:
  • What the terms "major", "moderate" and "minor" flooding mean to your area and at what official river height your home becomes isolated or inundated.
  • Details of local flood plan, whether you may need to evacuate and how to get to the nearest safe location.

When you hear a flood warning:
  • Listen to your local radio/tv for further information.
  • Check that your neighbours know of the warning.
  • Stack furniture and possessions above likely flood level, on beds and in roof (electrical items on top).
  • Move garbage, chemicals and poisons to a high place.
  • Secure objects that could float and cause damage.
  • Protect/relocate valuable stock and equipment.
  • If on the land, move livestock to high ground.
  • Check your car and fill it with fuel.
  • Check your emergency kit and fresh water stocks.
  • If you need help, call the SES on 132 500.

You may be advised to evacuate by local authorities, but if you leave of your own accord, tell the Police or the SES and your neighbours. Before you go, you should take the following actions:
  • Empty freezers and refrigerators leaving doors open (to avoid floating and subsequent damage).
  • Collect and secure your personal valuables, papers, money, photo albums and family mementos.
  • Turn off electricity, gas and water.
  • Don't forget your emergency kit.
  • Do not walk or drive through flood water.

If you remain in your home, or when you return, take these precautions:
  • Keep your emergency kit safe and dry.
  • Do not eat food which has been in contact with flood water and even boil all tap water until supplies have been declared safe.
  • Don't use gas or electrical appliances which have been flood-affected, until they have been safety-checked.
  • Beware of snakes and spiders, which may move to drier areas in your house.
  • Avoid wading, even in shallow water, as it may be contaminated.
  • Keep listening to your local radio and TV station for warnings and advice.

The worst in nature, the best in us