Tips for cleaning up after a natural disaster
Find out what financial assistance and support is available if you have been affected by a natural disaster.
To make sure your clean-up after a natural disaster runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible:
- Do not return to your business premises until emergency services declare it safe to do so.
- Contact your insurance company before you start any cleaning. Can you begin rebuilding or repair work immediately or do you need to wait for your insurance company to authorise repairs?
- Consider how much cleaning and repair work is required. Do you have enough employees, family, friends or volunteers to keep going or do you need more help?
- Contact your local council for information on cleaning and kerbside pickup.
- Ensure undamaged stock is in a secure location to minimise theft.
- If you sell food, contact your local council to find out if you will require an environmental health inspection before you begin trading again.
Power and gas
When you return to your business premises, you may find extensive damage. Make sure all gas and electricity is turned off before you begin cleaning up.
Reconnecting power supply
Do not touch the power until a licensed electrical contractor has inspected and verified your switchboard, wiring, equipment and appliances. Ask for a test certificate.
To organise an electrical safety test, phone the Master Electricians Association on 1300 889 198 or book online.
Find out more about electrical safety during storms.
Reconnecting gas supply
As soon as the natural disaster event has passed, you must have any affected LPG and natural gas appliances and equipment checked by a licensed gas fitter.
You can find licensed gas fitters through the Yellow Pages, local newspaper classifieds or by searching online.
Staying safe when cleaning up
Never put your own or others' safety at risk. There are simple steps you can take to look after your health and stay safe when cleaning up after a natural disaster.
Natural disasters can cause a range of associated health issues, read useful information for natural disasters and severe weather. The Red Cross has a range of resources to help you prepare, respond to and recover from emergencies.
Staying safe after a storm, flood or cyclone
Flooding, storms and cyclones can cause a range of health and safety issues for you and your business. For example, 2 key concerns after a flood are the risk of tetanus and exposure to asbestos.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has detailed advice on safely cleaning up after floods and storms.
Find out more about cleaning up after a storm, flood or cyclone.
Safety checklists can provide advice on limiting the damage from a natural disaster, and make recovery quicker and easier. Read Ergon Energy's flood safety tips and Energex's severe weather safety tips.
Staying safe after a bushfire
After a bushfire, there may be health hazards like rubble, ash and debris. Before you start cleaning up, check with your local emergency services or local council to make sure it is safe to enter your business.
Find out more about staying safe when cleaning up after a bushfire.
- Learn how to protect yourself from scams, fake tradespeople and repair workers that may target your business during a natural disaster.
- Read about what to do after a natural disaster on ASIC's MoneySmart website.
- Learn about rebuilding your business after a natural disaster.
- Learn about disaster recovery for livestock farms.
- Read about notifications and approval requirements for clearing vegetation for fire, floods and other natural disasters.
- Find out how a recovery plan can help minimise losses and get your business running again after an incident.
- Contact Lifeline for confidential emotional and crisis support on 13 11 14. You can speak to a trained and dedicated volunteer 24 hours a day.
- Contact Beyond Blue for support in dealing with depression and anxiety.
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