Checklist - Storm and severe weather
Tasmania is regularly subjected to storms and severe weather. Storms can bring strong winds, intense rainfall, hail and snow. Strong winds and hail may damage your property and assets, heavy rainfall can cause flooding, and snow may result in road closures and staff absences. Use this checklist to prepare your business and plan for disruptions due to storms and strong weather. See the Tasmania State Emergency Service (SES) website for further storm information www.ses.tas.gov.au
- Consider whether storms are a risk to your business. For further information on storms, see the SES www.ses.tas.gov.au or check the Bureau of Meteorology www.bom.gov.au/tas Storms affect all parts of Tasmania but different areas experience varying storm scenarios (for example, the west and north-west coast of Tasmania are particularly exposed to prevailing storm weather).
- Include risk mitigation strategies for storm in your Business Continuity Plan.
- Think about your insurance needs in relation to storms and make sure your chosen policy provides an appropriate level of cover for your business and that you understand any requirements.
Infrastructure and property
- Ensure general maintenance around your business premises and store items appropriately:
- get your roof checked to make sure it is in good condition, and repair any damage
- trim tree branches overhanging your roof. Check with your local council first to see if you require any permits or consents
- repair any corrosion, loose fittings and/or rotting timber
- clear or secure any loose items that could cause damage if blown around in high winds (for example, outdoor furniture, potted plants, etc.). Clear gutters, drains and downpipes so that water can drain away quickly
- store hazardous materials in waterproof containers in a secure cupboard.
- If you live in a flood prone area, consider making changes to your business property to protect against flood:
- consider installing flood-proofing devices
- set up your business in a building with flood resistant floor coverings, furniture and fittings that are easily cleaned and less likely to be damaged (e.g. tiled floors on the ground level, raised electrical sockets)
- identify where your equipment could be relocated or how it could be protected.
- Ensure you have enough stock on hand to supply your business and customers in the event of severe storm damage.
Prepare for power outages
- Check that your incident response plan or evacuation plan includes instructions to turn off electricity, in the event of a storm. Avoid using landline phones in the event of a storm.
- Know how to manually override electronic access to your business or garage.
- Keep TasNetworks' 24 hour fault number (132 004) in an accessible location. Call this number if you have an electrical fault or notice sparks from nearby powerlines.
- Consider alternative power supplies for your business in the event of an outage. Note that portable generators should be used with extreme caution and back-up generators should not be plugged into your switchboard. See TasNetworks website for further information on power outage safety and preparation www.tasnetworks.com.au
Staff and business visitors
- Ensure your staff and guests are aware of emergency evacuation procedures and familiar with their roles during an evacuation, including knowing the trigger for activating emergency plans and how this information will be communicated.
- Ensure your staff and guests know where to access official sources of information in an emergency (for example, TasAlert website and social media, radio broadcasts).
- During extreme weather events, such as snow, roads may be closed. Check the Tasmania Police website for updates on road closures www.police.tas.gov.au
- Consider how you would communicate information to staff and guests or customers in the event of an emergency (for example, bulletins, meetings, notice board, or social media).
- Ensure a list of emergency and staff contact numbers is available to staff.
- Ensure you have an appropriate number of staff trained in first aid and that the contents of your first aid kit are regularly checked and restocked. Further information about first aid requirements is available from WorkSafe Tasmania www.worksafe.tas.gov.au
- Prepare an emergency kit and store in a large plastic container. Include an emergency radio (battery, solar or hand crank) and torch. See Part 3 of the Business Continuity Plan template for further information.
- If staff travel in vehicles during the work day, make sure you have procedures in place for what they should do in an emergency situation.
- Identify a place on your property where you can shelter and make sure to include this in your emergency procedures.
During an emergency, keep yourself, your staff and guests updated by checking the TasALERT website www.alert.tas.gov.au and tune into the emergency broadcaster, ABC local radio. Stay indoors and disconnect all electrical appliances and avoid using the telephone. For storm or flood emergencies (that are not life threatening) contact the SES on 132 500.