A Tropical Cyclone is an intense tropical storm characterised by violent winds, dangerous storm surge, torrential rain and flooding.

These extreme weather events can be highly destructive, causing severe damage to buildings and property, interrupting business activities and endangering lives.

According to data published by the Insurance Council of Australia, Cyclone Debbie (2017) and Cyclone Yasi (2011) each resulted in estimated insured losses in excess of $1.5 billion.

Fortunately, advances in technology and weather tracking have made it easier to detect these storms before they make landfall.

Proper preparation can help to dramatically reduce damage and avoid the loss of life.

Here are Chubb’s top 10 tips to help you prepare for the Australian cyclone season (from November to April).

Cyclone Preparation Tips

  1. Establish an Emergency Action Plan that considers prevention, warnings, emergency response, evacuation criteria, facility shut down, disaster recovery, and key personnel.  Activate this plan when a tropical cyclone watch is issued.

  2. Designate an Emergency Coordinator and Emergency Action Team as appropriate.  Ensure that team members know their roles and responsibilities and that you have appropriate emergency equipment and materials available and in good working order.

  3. Ensure that you know how to contact emergency services and other agencies such as Emergency Management Australia.

  4. Confirm that you can receive weather warnings and emergency information broadcast via the media.  Know the contact numbers for the Bureau of Meteorology telephone weather service.

  5. Ensure that you have a Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery Plan in place.

  6. Inspect your facility to ensure that key areas such as roofs and sheds are properly secured and in good condition.  Clear gutters and downpipes.  Ensure drain pumps are operating correctly.  Secure all equipment stored outside.

  7. Identify and perform preventative maintenance on back up equipment such as emergency generators.  Ensure that sufficient fuel is available for this equipment.

  8. Follow instructions issued by local emergency services.

  9. Restore any damaged fire protection and security equipment and systems at the earliest opportunity. Notify Chubb Risk Engineering Services of any fire protection system impairments.

  10. If any cutting, welding, or other hot work is involved in post-cyclone recovery work ensure that hot work management procedures are in place. You can download the Chubb hot work permit here.

For further advice on cyclone preparation and safety procedures, we recommend reading this useful checklist published by the Bureau of Meteorology:  http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/checklist.shtml

Chubb also has a team of dedicated risk engineers who can assist you in preparing for the cyclone season.

For more information, please contact Risk.Engineering.au@chubb.com

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