When a cyclone threatens

When a cyclone is heading your way, prepare for the worst and you'll avoid expensive damage to property.

Secure or store safely any outdoor furniture, boats, caravans, bicycles, ornaments, pot plants, gas tanks, drums, market umbrellas, swings, lawnmowers, garden tools, garbage bins, large toys, and the countless small items that accumulate around the house.

These items should be secured to the house or ground, or stored in the garage, garden shed, or temporarily within the home. Strong winds can pickup and hurl items through windows, doors, and garage doors destroying the external barrier protection your family.

Glass breakage is particularly dangerous and not all windows and doors are not tempered safety glass, particularly in older homes.

If you have a swimming pool, remove the pool cover to avoid the cover damage during heavy downpours.

Caravans are necessarily of lightweight construction with flat sides, which makes them susceptible to being blown over during high winds, or damaged by flying debris. Use chassis and roof tie-downs to prevent your caravan being blown over. The most effective roof tie-down is a strong net firmly fixed at ground level that passes over the van roof.

Identify the strongest room in your home for safe shelter

If authorities advise that the safest option for your household during a cyclone is to 'shelter-in-place', whether that's at home, work, or school, the strongest room in your house will provide the best protection from falling debris. Choose a room, on the lowest level to ground, where there are no windows, skylights, or glass doors. Often this is an internal bathroom, which means there won't be a lot of room, so prepare your family that the situation could be a bit cramped until the cyclone passes.

Because there's no guarantee that your home will withstand the winds of a category 4 or 5 cyclone and local authorities might recommend that you evacuate. Also, if you're at risk of storm surge or flooding authorities might recommend that you evacuate away from the coast and to higher ground.