Storms & Floods. Information Guide. Important phone numbers in an emergency: Network utilities in the ACT

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1 Important phone numbers in an emergency: EMERGENCY HELP DURING STORMS & FLOODS LIFE THREATENING EMERGENCY Police Fire Ambulance A guide to what you need to know Before, During and After a STORM or FLOOD Network utilities in the ACT Electricity emergencies Actew AGL Water, sewerage & stormwater emergencies Actew AGL Natural gas emergencies (inc. QBN) Actew AGL Network utilities in Queanbeyan & surrounding NSW areas ACT State Emergency Service Emergency Services Agency 123 Carruthers st. Curtin ACT 2605 phone fax web Information Guide Storms & Floods Electricity emergencies Country Energy Natural gas emergencies Actew AGL Water, sewerage & stormwater emergencies City Council This Storm Affected Residents Guide (Guide) has been compiled by the ACT State Emergency Service as a general guide to preparing for and dealing with storms for ACT residents. The Guide is not, and is not intended to represent, advice on which the reader should rely, and nothing in the Guide should be relied on without independent and/or professional advice being sought. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate and current at the time of printing, the ACT State Emergency Service, the Australian Capital Territory and the authors take no responsibility for any information contained in the Guide, including errors or omissions, and denies any liability whatsoever for any costs, loss or damage which any person, group, organisation or agency may claim, incur or suffer as result of relying on the Guide FOR EMERGENCY HELP IN STORMS AND FLOODS

2 This brochure seeks to advise the ACT community on preventative measures to minimise damage and costs as a result of a storm or flood. Please read this guide and familiarise all occupants of your household with the contents of this brochure. Place the Emergency Phone numbers and Ten Tips to Minimising the Risk of Damage in a Storm or Flood in a prominent place where everyone can access it.

3 Roles & Responsibilities of the ACT State Emergency Service The ACT State Emergency Service is an emergency response agency. Members will provide assistance during an emergency to render your property safe and provide temporary relief. It is up to you as the homeowner to take all necessary steps to have permanent repairs carried out in your home. The ACT State Emergency Service is responsible for dealing with storms. This includes planning for storms and educating people about how to protect themselves and their property. The SES is also responsible for providing temporary repairs such as sandbagging properties affected by flash flooding, placing tarpaulins on damaged roofs, felling dangerous trees and branches and giving storm safety advice.

4 The ACT State Emergency Service e will is not not: responsible for: > Removing e fall fall en en trees or or br br anches unless s they are causing an immediate threat or restricting acces ess; s; > Taking e away fall fall en en br br anches or or trees that have been felled ed as a result of a storm; > Clean eaning up yup our your yard yard or or surrounding property; > Contact acting y our your insur insur ancanc e c e company; > Arrange anging alt alt ernat e ac e ac c commodation. Any property or equipment left behind by any of the Emergency Service e Authority agencies agencies is to be returned is to be within returned 2 wwithin eeks to 2 your weeks near to est your station, nearest brigade station, brigade or unit SES or unit. SES unit.

5 BEFoRE What you can do now ChECk and maintain your roof ClEARgutters and drains of any leaf litter or rubbish EnSuRE tree branches are trimmed clear of homes and powerlines GEnERAl yard maintenance clear up loose objects MAkE an emergency kit ShElTER pets and animals ShElTER vehicles or cover with blankets to minimise damage DiSConnECT electrical appliances ConSiDERtaping or covering large windows identify local risks in your area STACkpossessions higher up, on beds if flooding is possible PREPARE a home emergency plan and identify risks around the home keep a list of emergency numbers handy.

6 When a storm or flood warning is broadcast listento your local radio for information and advice BRinG children and pets indoors STAy well clear of windows PARk your car under cover or away from trees PlACE poisons and chemicals on high shelves to reduce contamination of flood water PuTyour family emergency kit where you can find it easily. your emergency kit should contain at all times A portable radio with spare batteries A torch with spare batteries A first aid kit Rubber gloves Candles and waterproof matches Important papers including emergency contact numbers A copy of your emergency plan A waterproof bag for valuables.

7 DuRinG Whilst a storm is in progress SEEk shelter inside STAy clear of windows, doors and skylights ShElTER in the strongest part of the building, eg cellar, internal room hallway or built-in robe or under a strong table or bench, mattress or doona SEEk enclosed shelter, not under a tree or a metal structure if outdoors SToP the car, if driving. Stay well clear of powerlines, trees and waterways ConSiDER taping or covering large windows STACk possessions higher up, on beds if flooding is possible ConSiDERmoving stock to higher ground in rural areas DiSConnECT electrical appliances listen to the radio for storm updates EnSuREpets are safe. DO NOT use a land telephone line during a thunderstorm

8 If you experience water leaking through your ceiling, windows or doors: Isolate power Remove or cover furniture Use buckets or saucepans to collect dripping water Divert water using towels, mop or tarpaulins. if flooding has occurred AvoiDdriving, walking, boating or swimming in flood waters Do not allow children to play near flood waters Do not go sightseeing in the flooded area listento the radio or tv for updated weather advice or warnings FolloW instructions from emergency authorities PlACEa strong plastic bag full of sand or earth in the toilet bowl, over shower and bath outlets to prevent back-flow of sewage into your home BE READy to evacuate if necessary. note: If evacuation is likely or required, place in your emergency kit: A good supply of required medications Any special requirements for babies and the disabled, infirm or elderly Strong shoes Fresh food and drinks.

9 AFTER After the storm or flood Severe storms may cause major damage and be accompanied by torrential rain, strong winds, large hailstones and lightning. They may cause flash flooding, unroof buildings and damage to trees and power lines. Floods mostly occur along rivers after heavy rainfall. However, overflow of drainage systems in urban areas can also be a major problem. The following is advice to follow after the storm or flood has passed through: ChECkyour house for damage. If you need help from the SES, phone keep listening to your local radio for information and advice STAy well clear of creeks and drains, fallen trees and power lines, and damaged structures EnSuREchildren and animals remain away from fallen powerlines until ActewAGL send an emergency team to make them safe Do not use electrical equipment that got wet, have them professionally tested

10 have gas appliances inspected and cleaned to prevent a gas explosion or fire ChECkyour smoke detectors are still working look out for spiders and snakes that may have moved in to escape the flood nevergo sightseeing in storm damaged areas EnquiREif your neighbours may need any assistance. Emergency assistance For emergency assistance for serious damage or advice, call the ACT State Emergency Service In case of power failure, fallen powerlines, electrical problems, water supply interruption, sewage network discharge or blocked stormwater drains, call ActewAGL In case of gas emergencies, call the relevant local supplier Call your insurance company to assess any damage and arrange permanent repairs to your home.

11 Frequently asked questions? Q A Q A Q A What happens in the event of loss of power or when branches have fallen on power lines. ActewAGL have the responsibility for all matters in relation to electrical network interruptions in the ACT. For these and all other emergency numbers see the list on inside back cover. Who can I turn to if I require emergency accommodation? If you have insurance, contact your insurance company promptly to lodge a claim and determine the coverage provided by your insurance policy that may include alternate accommodation. If you do not have insurance, then it is your responsibility to arrange accommodation. In large scale events, an Evacuation Centre may be established and affected residents should attend the centre for advice. Who do I call to remove felled trees and branches on my property? It is up to you, the homeowner, to clean up your own property. For assistance with the removal of trees or tree stumps on your property, see the Yellow Pages under Tree Felling &/or Stump Removal or Tree Surgery. For other debris removal look under Rubbish Removers in the Yellow Pages.

12 Q Who has the responsibility of removing felled trees and branches on public property such as nature strips, roads, playgrounds and walkways? A This is the responsibility of Urban Services. SES cut up branches to make them safe but do not undertake the removal. Urban Services will arrange for this to occur and it could take several weeks. They can be contacted via Canberra Connect on Q Who do I contact to have my gutters cleaned or roof maintenance carried out. A Homeowners should ensure that gutters are kept free of debris and that roof tiles have not lifted or are cracked. If you are unable to carry out maintenance yourself, then check the Yellow Pages under Guttering & Spouting or Roof Repairers &/or Cleaners. Q What happens if the SES has been to my property following a storm and left a stump behind? A The removal of stumps is the responsibility of the homeowner. Refer to the Yellow Pages under Tree Felling &/or Stump Removal. Q A Q A How can I check for weather updates? Radio and television stations provide regular updates or visit the Bureau of Meteorology web site at What do I do with equipment loaned from the SES or another emergency service. All equipment should be returned to the Emergency Services Agency at 123 Carruthers Street, Curtin within 4 weeks.

13 TEn TiPS To MiniMiSE ThE RiSk of DAMAGE in A FlooD or SToRM 1. ChECk and maintain your roof 2. ClEAR gutters and drains of any leaf litter or rubbish 3. EnSuRE tree branches are trimmed clear of homes and powerlines 4. GEnERAl yard maintenance clear up loose objects 5. MAkE an emergency kit 6. ShElTER pets and animals 7. ShElTER vehicles or cover with blankets to minimise damage 8. DiSConnECT electrical appliances 9. ConSiDER taping or covering large windows 10. ifflooding is possible, stack possessions higher up, eg on beds

14 cover photo (lightning) courtesy The Canberra Times FOR EMERGENCY HELP IN STORMS AND FLOODS Important phone numbers in an emergency: State Emergency Service 000 POLICE FIRE AMBULANCE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON STORMS & FLOODS VISIT The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has the responsibility for issuing weather warnings. These are issued from their regional forecasting centres in States and Territory capital cities around Australia. Weather warnings for the ACT are monitored through a radar at Captains Flat and are distributed to the ACT State Emergency Service. As well as weather radars the BOM use observers, storms spotters and satellites. Where there is radar coverage, effective monitoring of storms can be maintained but due to the fact that many parts of the country are not covered by radars there are large gaps which means that some thunderstorms can develop undetected. Thunderstorms are difficult to predict as they have lifetimes of less than an hour and dimensions as little as 10km. Weather Warnings! Warnings are generally issued when there is strong evidence of impending actual severe thunderstorm activity which means that lead times for warnings can be as little as 20 minutes. Warnings issued by the BOM advise of any expected dangerous phenomena and include advice to the public on ways in which they can take action to minimise risks. Information Weather warnings for the ACT and surrounds can be obtained by phoning which is a recorded message or by visiting the BOM website at The Emergency Services Agency (ESA) may, in conjunction with the BOM, issue media releases containing weather warnings. These will be available to the public on the ESA website at or by phoning Canberra Connect on

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