HOME EMERGENCY TIPS
Disasters have the potential to affect us in a big way, both immediately and over the long haul. Knowing what to do before, during, and after an emergency is knowledge that can help you through the most grueling of unpredictable circumstances.
IF THERE IS A FIRE
Contact the emergency services in your area immediately or call 10111.
If you are inside the house when a fire starts, check where the fire is coming from. If there is smoke coming from under a door, do not open it. Even if you don't see smoke, there could still be fire on the other side, so feel the door and doorknob with the back of your hand to see if it is warm or hot.
If the door and doorknob are not hot, slowly open the door. If you can see an escape route, stay low to the ground – crawl on your hands and knees as fast as you can until you can get out of the house. Don't walk upright – since smoke rises, you're more likely to inhale smoke if you are higher up.
If you see smoke or fire coming from under a door, block the cracks in the door with towels, blankets or clothes to prevent the smoke from coming in.
Open a window and shout ‘FIRE’ as loud as you can. If you have water, wet a shirt or pillowcase and cover your mouth and nose so you don't breathe in too much smoke. If your clothes catch fire, drop to the floor and roll around to put out the flames. Do not re-enter the house or any other building that has been affected by a fire until you have been told it is safe to do so.
IF YOU ARE BURGLED
If you enter your property and notice anything out of place, leave immediately as the intruders may still be inside. Rather leave the premises and call the police from your cellphone, or from a neighbour’s home. In addition: Don’t clean up or move anything until the police have had a chance to inspect the scene, or you could be damaging vital evidence. The police will want to take a statement from you, as well as photographs and fingerprints. The police will also give you a case number. Keep this safe as you’ll need it for your insurance claim. If your bank or credit cards have been stolen, call the bank’s emergency number and have them stopped. These services are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so don’t delay. If any important documents are missing, such as your passport, report that to the police too. Check your home for damage and make a list of all the items that were stolen before you contact your insurer. If possible include items’ model and serial numbers, purchase receipts, instruction manuals or photographs you may have. The more detail you provide, the more helpful the information will be to assist us in dealing with your claim quickly and efficiently. Important: Make sure that you report your claim within 30 days of the incident, and have your policy number handy when you call to submit your claim. An Internal Claims Consultant, External Loss Adjuster or an investigator will be appointed and will contact you within 24 hours.
IF YOU HAVE STORM, HAIL OR FLOOD DAMAGE
If your home is damaged by storm, hail or flood, make sure you do the following:
In the event of a flood, dry up as much water as possible to minimise further damage (items like carpets and curtains can be saved if drying takes place promptly). Remove furniture and household contents from wet areas. If the flood is due to a burst water pipe, turn off the main water supply.
If your home has been damaged during a storm (for example if a tree has fallen on the roof), or you have damage caused by hail, evaluate the damage so that you can describe it clearly to your broker/insurer. If needed, board up any broken windows or doors.
IF YOUR GEYSER BURSTS
Burst pipes and geysers and the resulting water damage are common household emergencies. The first thing to do is switch off the geyser isolator switches on your main electrical distribution board. If in doubt, switch off your main electricity supply. Then turn off the water at the geyser inlet valve to minimise further water damage to ceilings, walls, carpeting and furniture. If your geyser is inaccessible, or you are not sure where the valve is located, (or if you have a burst pipe) turn off your water at the mains. Once the water and electricity have been switched off, open up all the hot taps – your bath, basins, shower, kitchen, etc. This will drain out some of the hot water from the geyser, but its main purpose is to release the pressure in the geyser cylinder thereby making it leak less.