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Overview

Floods can hit capital cities and regional towns across Australia. That’s why good preparation and planning is important when it comes to being ready. This guide gives you tips on what to take if you have to evacuate and what you’ll need once you’ve left. We also have advice for protecting household items and keeping floodwater out of your home.

Steps

1Prepare an emergency evacuation kit

If you have to evacuate your home because of a flood, you are unlikely to have enough time to put together the things you need. Be prepared and have a large waterproof, plastic container with items you'll need. This should include a first aid kit, canned food and bottled water, a torch with spare batteries, matches and sand bags if you need them.

Person placing first aid kit into plastic tub.

2Protect your personal possessions

Along with an evacuation kit, a waterproof/fireproof safe and another large plastic container are ideal for your personal possessions. They can contain passports, marriage and birth certificates, wills, children's report cards, photo albums, vaccination records and home and content insurance documents. The safe and container are ideal for important or sentimental items or ones that can't be easily replaced.
Person opening fire-and-water-proof container open.

3Essential items

As well as food, water, clothes and important documents there a lot of other essential items you should also have ready to go. A gas bottle with a cooking attachment will help cook food and boil water. You will also need a saucepan, cutlery and plates. Sleeping bags, towels and clothes are very handy. Another large water container would also be worthwhile. Packing a radio with spare batteries will let you stay up-to-date with the latest flood news.

Person placing canned food into plastic tub.

4Protect electrical items at home

Once you leave your home it's unwise to return until the authorities have said it's safe. An easy way to protect electrical items at home, such as TV's, stereo's and DVD players is to unplug them and place them on tables or benches, somewhere higher that will keep them out of the floodwater. Large electrical items like washing machines, dryers and if possible, fridges can be placed on bricks, to lift them off the ground.

Two large cement bricks.

5Know your escape route

Once you've decide to leave your home because of rising floodwaters, it's important to know exactly where you're going and where is safe from the floods. If you have any pets, take them with you, if it's possible, or work out what you're going to do to make sure they're safe.

6Building or renovating

If you're building or renovating in an area that might be prone to flooding, choose your floor surfaces to suit. Tiles are hard wearing, easier to clean and more resistant to floodwater than other floor surfaces.

7Prepare the outside of your house

There are some easy things you can do to help protect your home from heavy rain and floodwater:

  • Make sure that the gutters are clean and the down pipes aren't blocked.
  • If you have one, clean out the drainage system at the bottom of your driveway or anywhere else around your home.
  • Tidy up outside and remove any items that might be swept away and damage your home.
  • Fill sandbags and use them to divert water away from your home.
Person holding gunk from their gutter in hand.

8Have your own power supply

Even if your house hasn't been flooded and you don't have to evacuate, the authorities might still cut the power in your area. A generator gives you the ability to be able to run power to your home and keep your fridge or freezer running, and any other important electrical appliances. Make sure you have a long extension cord to run from the generator, into your home. You will also need a good supply of fuel to run the generator.

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.