By Stuart Tucker
Following the storms across NSW last week, online tradie platform hipages observed a 71% increase week-on-week in storm-related job requests.
This included a 185% increase in roof repair requests, 90% increase in gutter cleaning jobs and 29% increase in window repairs with these figures expected to grow as clear weather sweeps across the state.
Whilst Australia’s wild weather is inevitable, there are ways you can prepare your home and your household for when a storm hits, minimising damage and ensuring your safety.
Secure your home
If you’ve heard reports of expected storms in your area, the first thing you should do is ensure your home is as secure as possible. This includes putting away outdoor furniture or play equipment and ensuring there is no debris in your garden or surrounds including branches or wood. It’s also best to park your car under cover if possible as well.
Survey the area
If you have a tree located close to your home, this could pose a risk of damaging your home and roof during a storm. Trim back branches and remove any trees that pose a danger to avoid thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home. Consider doing this quarterly to ensure you’re not scrambling at the last minute. With services like hipages offering tradies on-demand, hiring a local licensed arborist is easier than ever meaning you can stay on top of jobs ahead of storm season.
Keep the roof over your head
Your roof is one of the most vulnerable areas of your home in a storm so you need to keep yours well maintained throughout the year. Prior to a storm rolling through, ensure there is no pre-existing damage to your roof like loose tiles or sheets. If there’s any physical damage, repair this as soon as you can. Remember if your roof is in poor condition it’s much more likely to succumb to the ravages of a storm.
Clear your gutters
Gutters are your home’s first line of defence protecting against leaks. Gutters should be checked regularly but even more so before a storm to ensure they are clear of any debris or obstructions to avoid water overflowing into the eaves of your roof.
Fix your fence
It’s important to check your fence for unstable bases, damaged slats and loose and/or damaged screws and hinges which could cause serious problems. If you identify any of these issues, call in a professional tradesperson to make repairs, securing your fence against storms and high winds.
Secure your doors and windows
Some of the most common damage to occur during a storm is to doors and windows, typically due to a failure of the closure system. For peace of mind, it’s important to know that your windows and doors are strong and safe enough to withstand a storm. Do so by hiring a licensed handyman to install sturdy hinges and locks on your doors and windows.
Have a solid foundation
Storms can lead to floods, which happens more often in some states across the nation. Flooding can cause homes to collapse due to inadequate foundations. If you’re concerned about your home, have a structural engineer inspect your foundations and make any required repairs or reinforcements to keep it standing strong for years to come.
Structural property damage
Any damage caused by heavy storms can have serious implications to the structure of your home and make it more at risk in future. Following extreme weather, check for cracks appearing in walls and windows or doors starting to jam. If you see any of these in your home, call in a qualified structural engineer to help to repair these issues promptly.
Create an emergency kit, just in case!
Some storms can lead to blackouts and other disruptions to your usual homelife. If you know a storm is coming, prepare an emergency kit including torches, candles, matches, canned food, a can opener, bottled water and potentially first aid supplies to get you through until power is reconnected to your home.
Have a plan
Creating a home emergency plan can help reduce any stress should you and your family need to evacuate in the case of a severe storm. This should outline the safe exit points in your home, an agreed meeting point and a way to stay in contact should you become separated from each other. It is also a good idea to have emergency evacuation bags packed with food, water and clothes, particularly if you’re in flood prone areas.
-Stuart Tucker is Chief Customer Officer at hipages