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Flood preparation tips

For many Australians, floods are a very real part of life. If you live in a flood prone area, planning and preparation is the key to managing this danger to your home and family.

If a flood is threatening your home, it’s important to do the following things only if you have time and it doesn’t put you or your family in danger. Your first priority should be to get yourself and your loved ones to safety.

Here are some simple ways* you can plan for a flood:

Keep a list of emergency numbers near your phone or save them to your mobile. Some numbers you might need include your local emergency service office, police, ambulance, hospitals as well as other essential services like your gas and electricity provider.

There are some basic items you’ll need in the event of a flood. These include:

  • First aid supplies and any special medications
  • Non perishable food and water for your family and pets
  • Blankets and dry clothing
  • Valuables and cherished items, like photos or jewellery
  • A torch
  • A battery operated portable radio
  • Spare batteries for the torch and radio
  • Gloves

If you live in the country, you might need to move livestock, machinery, pumps and irrigation equipment to higher ground. You can prepare by finding where the highest point on your property is.

Store documents like Wills, birth or marriage certificates, financial records and your certificates of insurance in a waterproof bag. This will make them easy to add to your emergency kit if you need to evacuate.

Remove all fuses from your meter board fuse box and put them above the anticipated flood level. If you have a circuit breaker panel board, turn each circuit breaker into the ‘off’ position. Close the main gas valve and disconnect any gas cylinders or bottles and move them above the expected flood level. You also need to turn off the main water valve, which is usually found at the water meter located where the water supply enters your property.

If you’ve built flood-free storage into ceiling space, you can move household goods here. Don’t be tempted to place heavy furniture or equipment into your ceiling unless you’ve had it specially strengthened. Another way to protect your goods is to place furniture on beds, then put other personal and electrical items on top of the furniture. You should also move cardboard boxes and newspapers to higher ground as these can disintegrate and clog drains.

Machinery and other valuable equipment might be hard to relocate, so it’s a good idea to wrap them in waterproof covers. Surrounding these items with a wall of sandbags is another way to protect them from floodwaters.

Some indoor and outdoor items might cause damage if they’re picked up by flood waters, like fridges, timber and drums, so you should tie these down. Leave fridge and freezer doors open, so they don’t float or tip over. Outdoor bins should be tied or anchored down too, to help stop the spread of disease. You should also relocate any chemicals that might react with water or contaminate floodwaters. Store them in waterproof containers at the highest point of your home.

You can prevent a back flow of sewerage by placing a strong bag filled with sand or earth in toilet bowls and over shower and bath drains.

You can find more information about what to do before, during and after a flood by reading Emergency Management Australia’s guide.

How to prepare for flood

 Get an estimate of the amount of cover you need by using our building insurance and contents insurance calculators

 See our home insurance and car insurance FAQs.

 Need to make a claim? If you have car insurance or building and contents cover with us, call 13 2423, 24/7.

Our award-winning^ home insurance can protect your home and contents against flood, storm, fire, theft and more.

Important Information

*Information drawn from Emergency Management Australia’s ‘What to do before, during and after a flood’ .

^Money magazine’s 2014 Best of the Best winner in the Best Innovative Insurance Product category and winner of the CANSTAR award for Outstanding Value Home and Contents Insurance – Australia.

This information has been prepared without considering your personal objectives, financial situations or needs. Before acting on it, please consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.

Home Insurance is provided by Commonwealth Insurance Limited ABN 96 067 524 216 AFSL 235030 (CIL). CommInsure is a registered business name of CIL. CIL is a wholly owned non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 (The Bank). The Bank does not guarantee the obligations or performance of CIL or the products it offers. This information is provided by CIL and where we refer to ‘we’, 'us' and ‘our’, we mean CIL. You can download a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) by clicking on the links, or by calling us on 13 2423 for a paper copy.

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