Electrical safety when damage strikes

Electrical Safety When Flood Damage Strikes

Australia has seen some wild weather in recent years, especially with natural disaster events like bushfires and flood damage dominating the headlines and affecting the wider community. Even now, many homes across the eastern seaboard are busy cleaning up after some recent flood activity.

What these extreme weather events highlight is the importance of electrical safety, for the health and safety of both you and your home. We all know that water and electricity do not mix and coming into direct or indirect contact can be a massive risk to a person’s life. Flooding and heavy storm activity are two ways that the two will unfortunately come together.

Electrical safety in the home is so important for so many reasons. When it gets compromised by extreme weather, especially flooding, it’s important to know what you need to do to maintain that safety. Having safety management systems in place is crucial to protect your home, family and yourself.

Pre-Storm Electrical Equipment Safety Measures

Like most home maintenance issues, prevention is often better than cure when it comes to electrical safety. There are numerous measures you can take, both well in advance to prepare for these events and immediately before the event if you’re fortunate enough to receive forewarning, so you can prevent hazards from occurring. These include:

  • Installing an RCD safety switch in your home and regularly testing it.
  • Being aware of where you need to shut off your electricity, gas and water supplies in an emergency.
  • Packing away and storing any electrical equipment that you don’t use in a safe location.
  • Unplugging any outdoor televisions and aerials that are not fixed to the roof and safely storing them away.
  • Shutting off and unplugging any electrical equipment or appliances in the event of an oncoming storm.
  • If you have a solar PV system, use the safe isolation procedure to shut that down.

Ask yourself this – have you done all you can to protect your home and family from electrical risks brought about by storm activity or potential flood damage? Always remember though; before undertaking any electrical work done at home, make sure the person conducting the job has an electrical work licence.

What To Do During a Storm or When Flood Damage Has Occurred

Of course, you may not be “lucky” enough to have that forewarning. Knowing what to do when you’re in the midst of flooding or heavy storm activity is the next important step in maintaining electrical safety.

  • If you have lost power, be sure to switch off your powerpoints and unplug any electrical appliances throughout your home.
  • If you have a landline telephone in your home and there is a thunderstorm, do not use that fixed line as it can result in serious electric shock.
  • Should you be expecting flood water in your home, move any electrical appliances to higher locations if possible.
  • Steer clear of any powerlines that may cause electrical shock or trees that may fall and cause injury.
  • If floodwaters have inundated your property and the power is still connected, evacuate the home and move to a safe place.

Be sure, as well, to keep your local radio station on. It’s the best way to stay updated with any detailed information or changes to the weather forecast.

The Aftermath – Post Storm Clean Up

Once the storm has passed, or flood waters have receded, you’ll need to begin the clean-up process. Again, electrical safety will need to be a primary concern when you’re responsible for cleaning up after flooding or heavy storm activity. Here are some further tips to maintain optimal electrical safety in and around your home.

  • If you have any fallen, damaged or low-hanging powerlines on your property, stay away from them. Report them immediately to your local electricity supply company; they’ll be able to deploy suitably trained workers to deal with them.
  • Expand your safety considerations beyond the perimeter of your property. Steer clear of any streetlights, electrical cables or signs that might be found on or near your home.
  • If your electrical switchboard has suffered water damage, or lightning is imminent, do not touch it. The last thing you want to do is increase your exposure to electric shock.
  • Always have an experienced and licensed emergency electrician assess the situation and conduct any electrical work in and around your home. Not only is it dangerous to carry out your own electrical work, but it can also be illegal too.

Again, be sure to keep a local news radio station on to stay updated with details on any changes to the weather, as well as any advice or warnings.

Man improving the electrical safety of his home by monitoring his safety switches and electrical switchboard.

Importance of an Licensed Electrical Contractor In An Electrical Emergency

In the event of a natural disaster, electrical safety is paramount when it comes to your home and surrounding environment. Everything from power outages to electrical hazards can occur. Events like these can put your home and the health and safety of your family at risk.

Approaching any damage to the electrical equipment, systems or wiring in your home needs the utmost consideration and care. That’s precisely why you should always have an emergency electrician take care of any necessary electrical installations in and around your home.

The Laws Around Electrical Work in the Home

A licensed electrician understands the importance of getting the immediate environment working safely as possible. They will conduct any necessary testing and take the appropriate measures to address any risks to your home and family.

You may be tempted to attempt your electrical repairs by yourself. However, this is one area of home maintenance that is not DIY. Under Australian laws and compliance regulations, it’s against the law to have an unlicensed person conducting electrical work. Always leave it to a skilled and licensed electrical contractor. They know exactly what to do about electrical safety when flood damage occurs.

Published: 2022-11-30

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