'A plan and a bag of tricks': SES storm season advice

Storm coming towards Ipswich on Wednesday afternoon, December 21, 2016
Storm coming towards Ipswich on Wednesday afternoon, December 21, 2016 Rob Williams

THE SES wants Ipswich residents to be more prepared this storm season.

That means cleaning out your gutters to prevent water leaking, checking roof tiles for cracks and cleaning up outside.

Acting Area Controller Colin Neil said blocked gutters caused water inundation through the home and that's what most calls to the SES during storms were about.

He said if residents cleaned their gutters, pruned trees and tied down outdoor furniture including trampolines then most storm damage could be avoided.

"Outdoor furniture can be a missile," he said.

The other thing residents need to do is come up with a plan and "bag of tricks".

That is a bag that can be grabbed in a seconds, with money, ID, passports, water, photos, baby needs and important documents like insurance papers.

"It has to be something you can grab quickly."

In your plan you need to consider what you will do in the case of fire or flood, a list of people you can go and stay with or a meeting place in case communications fail.

He said it was also important to check on neighbours and friends especially if they were elderly and if you can't help them move then to tell the authorities.

"We had all these things come into play in the 2011 floods in Ipswich and surrounds," he said.

Having a plan and emergency bag ready to go will make it easier to leave in an emergency, Mr Neil said, because there's only so many people that can help.

In the terms of the SES there's only about 150 members to help out Ipswich's 200,000 residents.

Mr Neil said sometimes the SES couldn't get to people due to roads being cut and they were most likely helping others while their own homes were being flooded, which is what happened in 2011.

He has been in the SES for nine years and was here for the Ipswich floods.

"Flooding is terrible, there's not much you can do except evacuate," he said.

"With any sort of major event the first six to eight hours are about trying to gain information."

This year's storm season isn't expected to be any worse than normal but you can't always predict the weather so it's best to be prepared.

If you need help in an emergency you can contact the SES on 132 500 or phone police and ambulance on 000.

Topics:  ipswich storm season

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