Victoria’s State Emergency Service (VICSES) and is urging residents across the North East to “Be Ready” this Spring.
Recent severe storms caused damage to trees, homes, powerlines and delivered enough rain to cause minor flooding in some rivers and saturate most of North East’s river catchments.
The SES is the control agency for storm, flood, earthquake landslide and tsunami in Victoria.
Storms are Australia’s most common emergency that can happen anywhere and is more likely to happen from Spring to Summer, with power outages a common result of storm damage.
Different kinds of storms can bring different kinds of damage and impacts, including powerful destructive winds or tornadoes bringing down trees, heavy rain leading to floods, large hail damaging cars, windows and crops, lightning and thunder scaring pets, snow storms and blizzards to name a few.
SES Volunteers are ready to respond to calls for emergency assistance when storms or floods happen.
Their specialist storm response training includes rooftop-safe working at heights, emergency tarping and chainsaw operations.
In the North East Region alone, SES Volunteers respond to about 2000 requests for storm emergencies every year.
SES is encouraging the community to be ready to cope without power for a few hours or several days, noting having planned what to do and simple equipment handy helps residents cope during power and internet outages. North East Regional Manager and Assistant Chief Officer, Keith O’Brien said this was an early warning for the community ahead of the storm season.
“This head’s up for a stormy period ahead gives everyone time to think ahead; about how to know if your local area has previous storm damage or a flood risk; and what you and your family can do to prepare your home or business for damaging storms, flooding or landslides,” he said.
“Being ready for power outages that sometimes come with storms can be as simple as a battery-operated radio, torch, and spare batteries.
These days, having even a small portable power bank to keep you connected and charge your phone in an emergency is essential, and an easy way to be ready.
For more about what to do before, during and after power outages, go to www.energy.vic.gov.au/safety-and-emergencies/power-outages
“Storms and floods can happen all across the North East, so it is important that people living or working in our region take steps now to be ready and stay safe when emergencies happen.
Take the time to plan and prepare now. It will help you think clearly and stay in control during an emergency so you can make the best decisions, to keep you and your family safe.”
To stay safe and Be Ready for storms, follow these simple tips
- During and after storms, beware of dangerous damaged trees - avoid driving or exercising near trees during high winds. Never drive on flooded roads, it can take just 15cm of flowing water to float a small car. If you must be on the roads, be alert to the risk of dangerous driving conditions.
- Pick up a torch and a battery-powered radio, maybe a power bank for your phone or tablet, so you can see, stay connected, charged up, and informed during an emergency – don’t forget spare batteries! For more about what to do before, during and after power outages go to www.energy.vic.gov.au/safety-and-emergencies/power-outages
- Stay Informed - know how to access warnings – Download the VicEmergency App TODAY, set a Watch Zone. Listen for warnings on your local Emergency Broadcaster Radio eg. ABC, call the VicEmergency Hotline 1800 226 226 or follow on faacebook.com/vicemergency or twitter.com/vicemergency.
- Know your Neighbours – They can be so important in an emergency. You can work together, support each other, share supplies, a generator or just keep each other informed about what is happening and any emergency support arrangements.
- If your home or business is storm damaged: Remember that leaving for a safer place such as a family or friend’s house is still ok to do, in-line with any COVID-19 restrictions.
If you require emergency assistance during a flood or storm call SES on 132 500. If your emergency is life-threatening call Triple Zero 000.
For more about how to Be Ready for Storm or Flood go to: www.ses.vic.gov.au/get-ready. For the latest emergency information and warnings go to VicEmergency: emergency.vic.gov.au