Severe Weather

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Safety is paramount when dealing with extreme weather. Find out how to keep you and your family protected.

  • 7 tips for summer storm safety

    There are a number of simple steps home owners can take to protect personal safety, preserve electrical equipment, and deal with potential damage to the home’s electrical system.

    Follow the checklist below to help get yourself and your property ready ahead of storm season.

    1. Put safety first
      Don’t attempt do-it-yourself repairs if your property suffers storm damage, including your home’s electrical system and any electrical appliances affected. Call a qualified electrical contractor to help.
    2. Protect the system
      Ask an electrician about having lightning protection installed in your switchboard to protect all appliances. A small investment in surge protection could save you thousands of dollars to replace electrical items.
    3. Go offline before the storm
      Unplug all sensitive appliances, such as computers and TVs, and disconnect the telephone and TV antenna before the storm arrives.
    4. Don’t connect during the storm
      Don’t use equipment directly connected to electricity, including the stove, during a severe storm.
    5. Be wary of wires
      Don’t go outside to check the damage before an electrician arrives, especially during a storm, as fallen power lines are easily concealed and can be deadly.
    6. Call an electrician before your energy distributor
      If the wires have been torn down in a black out, most houses will require internal repairs before the power can be reconnected. In those cases, you need to contact an electrician before the distributor is called out, as your electricity distributor will be unable to assist until the wiring is fixed.
    7. Be confident in your contractor
      If you suffer storm damage, Master Electricians Australia can connect you with a local electrical contractor. Call 1300 889 198 or use the online electrician booking system and an accredited electrician will provide urgent assistance.
  • What to do during a flood

    If your property is in danger of flooding it is essential you take precautions to avoid the risk of electrocution.

    The four key precautions to keep in mind:

    • Ensure the main switch has been turned off
    • Ensure any solar or battery system is shut down. Follow the procedures labelled on the front of these devices.
    • Ensure appliances are unplugged and removed from power outlets
    • Contact an electrician to check for damage prior to restoring the electricity.

    Appliance safety

    Ensure any appliances are clear of any electrical faults to avoid any further loss or damage. A wet toaster or a damp hairdryer can give an electric shock or spark a fire so make sure all electrical appliances are declared 100 percent safe before they are plugged back in. These kinds of checks should be routine during flood clean-ups.

    A Master Electrician will be able to accurately assess any electrical risks in your home, including testing household appliances for electrical faults or water damage.

    Power lines

    Take care for fallen or damaged power lines. Fallen power lines are very dangerous and can be especially hard to see at night and when hidden in trees or other flood debris. Always assume fallen power lines are ‘live’, keep away and warn others to do the same. Report fallen power lines and trees or branches in contact with power lines to your electricity provider.

    Safety switches

    Have a Master Electrician test your safety switches, and if you don’t have one, your Master Electrician can install one for you. A safety switch is designed to cut the power off before electrocution can occur.

  • Important information for flood affected residents

    What to do after a flood

    • Contact a qualified electrician to check for damage prior to restoring the electricity
    • Ensure any appliances are clear of any electrical faults to avoid any further loss or damage. A wet toaster or a damp hair-dryer can give an electric shock or spark a fire so make sure all electrical appliances are declared 100 percent safe before they are plugged back in. These kinds of checks should be routine during flood clean-ups
    • An Accredited Master Electrician will be able to accurately assess any electrical risks in your home, including testing household appliances for electrical faults or water damage
    • Take care for fallen or damaged power lines. Fallen power lines are very dangerous and can be especially hard to see at night and when hidden in trees or other flood debris
    • Always assume fallen power lines are ‘live’, keep away and warn others to do the same. Report fallen power lines and trees or branches in contact with power lines to your electricity provider.

    Flood repair fact sheet

    Master Electricians Australia has developed a flood repair fact sheet to assist you in assessing your electrical components after a flood.

  • What to do in a blackout / power outage

    Coping without electricity

    Interruptions to your electricity supply can seriously hamper your lifestyle. You will need to think of some alternative ways to look after yourself safely during electricity supply disruption in your area. The following are suggestions you may find useful, alternatively you may consider going to stay with family or friends until the power has been restored.

    Keeping warm

    • Multiple layers of clothing will trap body heat more efficiently than one bulky layer
    • Wear a hat as the body loses heat through the scalp
    • Close doors, windows and blinds to maintain heat
    • Use a wood heater if you have one, but ensure that it is not left unattended and is extinguished before going to bed.

    Preparing food

    • Cook foods outside on the barbecue
    • Never use a barbeque inside a home, tent or caravan
    • Use foods that don’t require cooking, such as vegetables, tinned meats, bread and breakfast cereals.

    Washing safely

    • Heat water outside on the barbecue. Never use a barbecue inside a home, tent or caravan
    • Take special care when heating water in an unfamiliar way. Add some cool water to prevent burns
    • If you need to carry containers of hot or boiling water, don’t overfill them and make sure you insulate the handles to prevent scalds from steam. Keep children away when carrying boiling water
    • Before bathing, check the temperature of the water. Don’t attempt to top up with hot or boiling water when someone is already sitting in the bath.

    Lighting

    • Torches are much safer sources of light than candles. Make sure you have a good stock of batteries
    • If you must use candles, make sure they are on a secure base, do not leave them unattended or in places where they can fall or set alight flammable items. Keep them away from draughts and children
    • Be aware of fire hazards – keep candles away from curtains and other flammable objects
    • Extinguish all candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

    Helping your neighbours

    Check on your neighbours to see if they need assistance, particularly if they are:

    • Older people living at home by themselves
    • People with physical or sensory disabilities
    • People with a chronic illness
    • Single parents with young children.

    General suggestions

    • Switch off all electrical appliances, especially those that have heating elements
    • Unplug “surge-sensitive’ equipment, such as computers
    • Keep one light switch turned on so you know when the power returns
    • Turn on a battery operated radio and listen to a local radio station for information.

    Contacting an electrician

    Master Electricians are all experienced electrical contractors who complete a stringent, annual safety and quality audit, adhere to a code of practice, and offer customers a 12‐month guarantee on their work.

    Book your local Master Electrician online or call 1300 889 198.

    Information provided by www.ses.nsw.gov.au

  • A buying guide for generators

    Before purchasing a generator you must consider what it will be used for. Will you be using a portable generator to take camping or will it be used as a standby generator for your home in case of a power outage?

    You will also need to take into consideration the size of generator needed to supply the items you would like to power.

    Type of generator

    The first question to ask yourself is will the generator be:

    • Used with directly connected plug-in appliances; or
    • Connected via a plug and appliance inlet to your home via a changeover switch (installed by a qualified electrical contractor); or
    • A hard wired connection to your home via a changeover switch (installed by a qualified electrical contractor).

    If you will be purchasing a generator for use with plug-in equipment like hand-held equipment (e.g. a drill) you will need to purchase a generator that incorporates an RCD (Safety Switch) or is an inverter generator.

    If you will be purchasing a generator to plug in or hard wire directly into your home via a changeover switch, an RCD should not be incorporated into the generator. An inverter generator would be the most suitable type, like the Honda EU range or Yamaha EF range for example. In this case the equipment in your home will be controlled by the RCD’s installed in your switchboard.

    The lead
    If you are using a plug in type generator the supply lead from the generator to your house will need to be the correct size for the generator – if unsure check with your electrical contractor.

    The supply lead will also need to be installed to be protected against any mechanical damage, for example installed in a suitable wiring enclosure.

    Suicide lead fact sheetThis fact sheet has been created to highlight the dangers of the use of extension leads with a male plug fitted to both ends commonly called a suicide lead, to connect a generator to a house.

    Where to put the generator

    Gas or fume poisoning is not to be taken lightly, therefore generators need to be placed in well ventilated areas, preferably outside where exhaust gases, smoke or fumes cannot reach dangerous levels or enter any areas that people may occupy.  Generators must also not be exposed to the weather unless they are suitably protected.

    Care must be taken with the positioning of the generator to make sure refuelling can be performed easily.  High temperature surfaces or equipment that may emit arcs or sparks may cause ignition when refuelling.

    Other information

    Always read and follow your manufacturer’s instructions before using your generator and make sure your generator is properly maintained so it is ready for use when it is needed.

    Earth stakes are not required or recommended on a generator as per AS 3010.  If unsure please check with your electrical contractor.

    In most cases the best all-purpose generator is an inverter type generator but if you have questions about the type of generator that is best for you, you should consult your local Master Electrician.

  • Bushfire health advice

    Recent bushfire conditions have resulted in very poor air quality. Queensland Health has compiled the following recommendations for  that affected communities across the country.

    Protecting your health

    • The community is advised to remain indoors and close all windows and doors and operate air-conditioners if available.
    • All air conditioners should be switched to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’ mode.
    • If you do not have an air conditioner, take steps to reduce heat stress, especially for the very young, people who are unwell, or the elderly.
    • People with pre-existing lung or heart conditions should rest as much as possible and keep away from the smoke.
    • People with asthma should follow their personal asthma plan.
    • Anyone with a heart or lung condition should follow the treatment plan advised by their doctor and keep at least five days’ supply of medication on hand.
    • Avoid physical activity outdoors this includes outdoor workplace activities (exertion allows more fine particles to be breathed deeper into the lungs).
    • Schools and childcare centres should cease outdoor activities and children should stay indoors in areas with air-conditioning and/or ceiling fans.
    • It is recommended that organisers of outdoor events should consider postponing the event until air quality improves.
    • Assist your vulnerable family members, neighbours and friends. It is important to identify locations that have cleaner, filtered air-conditioned spaces (e.g. shopping centres, community centres, libraries etc).
    • If there is a break in smoky conditions, take the opportunity to air out your home to improve indoor air quality.
    • When indoors, minimise other sources of air pollution, such as cigarette smoke, burning candles, using unflued gas appliances including gas stoves, or stirring up fine dust from sweeping or vacuuming.
    • It is important to also stay hydrated by drinking water.
    • Stay up to date with local news reports.

    More information

    • Contact your doctor, hospital or health clinic
    • All States: Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
    • Qld: Contact 13 QGOV (13 74 68) for your nearest public health unit
    • Visit healthdirect for a list of additional resources.
  • Emergency contact numbers and useful links

    000
    Dial Triple Zero (000) for Police, Fire and Ambulance in an emergency.

    State Emergency Service
    Dial 132 500 for help with a damaged roof, rising flood water, trees fallen on buildings, or storm damage.

    Non-urgent medical help
    Dial 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)

    Weather warnings
    Bureau of Meteorology

    DisasterAssist
    Provides information on Australian Government assistance packages following a disaster. Includes up to date public information messages, relevant free call numbers and links to other related websites and information.
    DisasterAssist

    Radio and social media
    Tune in to your local ABC radio station to stay informed during severe weather events and natural disasters. In Queensland, follow the QPS Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates.

    Contact Master Electricians Australia for more information
    Call 1300 889 198 or to book a Master Electrician to assist you, visit our Master Electricians Online Booking Service

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