Storms are not uncommon when you live on the coast, particularly in NSW. Often they are low in strength and nothing to worry about, however, there may come a time when the weather presents a very real threat to the community.

After the events of the storm that lashed NSW during the end of April, cutting power to hundreds of thousands of homes, storm preparedness is certainly a hot topic of discussion. Owning your own property in a Newcastle retirement village is no different to living in a quiet cul-de-sac somewhere else when it comes to getting ready and being safe.

Here's what senior people, or those with senior family members, should know.

Prepare your home

There are certain things you can do to always be prepared for a natural disaster, including heavy storms. First off, you need an emergency plan.

Stormwise Australia outlines that every household should discuss elements such as:

  • How to quickly and safely exit the home
  • Where to meet/how to stay in contact in the event of becoming separated
  • What medication will be required if an evacuation occurs
  • What to do with any and all pets

These should be discussed with everyone present in your or your senior family member's household. If you live alone, gather with your retirement community neighbours and ensure you are all on the same page, as you will be able to help each other in the event of an emergency. Of course, AEH staff will also be on-hand should the need arise.

If you live alone, gather with your retirement community neighbours and ensure you are all on the same page, as you will be able to help each other in the event of an emergency.

Create an emergency kit

When the plan is ready, you will want to ensure you or your family member's cupboards are stocked with what may be needed. For example, do you have a torch with working batteries? How about a first aid kit and a waterproof bag stashed with cash? Don't forget also blankets, medication, food and drink (including water bottles) and any assistance devices needed – such as glasses, hearing aids and such like.

Watch the weather

If you keep your ears and eyes out, and ensure your friends and family do the same, you will know when a storm is approaching.

TV news broadcasts, radio shows and local government websites will all have warnings should the time come when they are needed. These will generally be classified as a 'Storm Warning', rather than a 'Storm Watch' or 'Weather Advisory'. The latter two are generally rough, but often not life-threatening. If the former is mentioned, it might be a good idea to stay with relatives elsewhere, or check with AEH staff to see if you can fortify your house.

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