A safe and accessible city

Prepare now: simple steps to protect your home from storms

Act today to keep yourself and your neighbours safe when extreme weather hits.

NSW State Emergency Service

Local volunteers from the NSW State Emergency Service respond to about 300 calls a year for assistance during storms in our area. Of those, around 30% could likely have been avoided with proper storm preparation.

We spoke to the NSW State Emergency Service to find out what you can do now to get your home in order before a storm hits.

Clean up your yard (or balcony)

Secure or store items around your yard or balcony that could blow around in strong winds.

“It’s important to remember that just because something is heavy, it doesn’t mean it won’t be picked up in high winds,” Unit Commander of the City of Sydney SES Robert Cooper said.

About 80% of people in our area live in apartments. For those people, loose items on balconies are the biggest danger.

“Not only do these loose items pose a serious risk to property but tragically a person was killed earlier this year in the city centre by a flying gas bottle that police believe had been picked up by strong winds from a nearby apartment complex,” Robert said.

Trim trees and branches

It’s no surprise if you live in a house or low-rise building, trees overhanging your home cause the most damage in storms.

“Even a small branch falling from height poses a serious risk to your safety and can also cause significant structural damage to your property,” Robert said. “There is an added risk to vehicles parked on the street in areas where there is limited or no undercover parking.”

You need a permit to prune or remove trees on your property in our area. Apply for a permit here. If there’s a tree in your neighbourhood you think needs pruning or removal, you can report an issue to us online.

SES clean up after a tree falls in our local area earlier this year. Photo: NSW State Emergency Service
SES clean up after a tree falls in our local area earlier this year. Photo: NSW State Emergency Service

Clean your gutters, downpipes and drains

It might not be the most fun job in the world, but maintaining gutters, downpipes and drains could save you a lot of hassle in the future. When a storm hits, blocked drains, gutters and downpipes can cause rainwater to get stuck, which can flood your home.

Fix any damage to your roof, including broken or missing tiles

Existing roof damage can lead to your home flooding during heavy storms and broken or loose tiles also pose a danger in high winds.

More information

Find information about preparing your property against storm damage, understanding your local risk, planning for emergencies and how to get involved with the SES at www.ses.nsw.gov.au.

For help in an emergency

For emergency assistance in floods and storms call the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500. If the situation is life-threatening, immediately call triple zero (000).

Correction: an earlier version of this article stated you do not need a permit to trim trees on your property. That was incorrect. You can learn more about our tree policy.

Published 29 June 2020, updated 2 July 2020

More on Safety