Millions of Australians are not taking into account the heightened risk of extreme weather this summer, possibly putting themselves and their families into danger while on holiday.
From bushfires to cyclones, summer has long been a hazardous time for the nation, but this year’s El Nino weather event has dialled up the danger by pushing up temperatures and drying out the land.
Despite the increased risks, many are playing with their fate by not planning ahead and checking out fire conditions at places they are planning to travel to.
More than half (57 per cent) of the four million Australians planning on visiting a rural area this summer won’t be monitoring weather conditions or severe weather alerts at their destination according to new data from NRMA.
Just one in five will have a look at local roads and evacuation routes at their destination before they get there, putting them at risk of becoming stranded.
The insurer has already seen an uptick in wild weather claims, with 5,286 people claiming damage from severe thunderstorms, hail, flash flooding and bushfires.
NRMA Insurance executive manager Natalie Major has urged Australians to keep themselves safe by checking out the weather before they head off on a trip.
“With millions of Aussies planning a trip to regional Australia – including locations that can be prone to severe weather such as bushfires, cyclones or flash flooding – it’s essential that people think ahead about how they can protect themselves and loved ones while away,” Ms Major said.
“If you are travelling to an unfamiliar destination, it’s important to know the local weather risks, identify alternative routes in and out of your location and keep an eye on conditions, given how quickly wild weather and fires can arise.”
While parents have a lot on their plates when it comes to planning a holiday, family trips are also a concern.
The data found that over 40 per cent of parents hadn’t discussed a meeting place with their kids and weren’t planning on packing an emergency kit with essential supplies for their children.
Not only are people not worried about the potential for extreme weather in the place they’re going for a holiday, many are not considering the homes they’ve left behind.
Less than a third (29 per cent) are planning on taking steps to prepare their property in case of wild weather while they are away.
Ms Major said that those living in areas where fire or floods are expected,
“There are simple steps you can take now such as clearing gutters, trimming branches and securing loose items around your yard,” Ms Major said.
“If you live in an area that could be impacted by a grassfire or bushfire it’s particularly important to get rid of debris and move flammable items away from your home.”
The insurer has issued a few tips to those planning on travelling around the country this year including downloading the Fires Near Me Australia app or the Hazards Near Me app for NSW which will keep them across wild weather conditions.
Other advice includes mapping out alternative routes to unfamiliar destinations and packing an emergency kit that includes supplies for children.