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?
  • Use your local council's disaster dashboard 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.

Access your local council's disaster dashboard for information about power and phone outages, road closures, river heights, and more.

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.

Be aware of physical health and wellbeing issues that may occur after a disaster.

The Red Cross also 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.

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.

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