Returning home after storms and floods
If you’ve been evacuated, returning home can be stressful, particularly if there has been significant damage to your property. When severe weather damages the electricity network, your electricity distributor may disconnect your home for safety reasons and you might find yourself without power for a period of time.
- Have you been disconnected?As clean up activities get underway, you may notice your power is disconnected. If your property has been flooded or water damaged, DO NOT attempt to turn the power back on or touch the main switchboard - it could cause a serious electric shock.
- Contact your electricity distributorYour electricity distributor will provide information on how to get your electricity switched back on safely. Depending on where you live and the extent of the damage, you may need a licenced electrician to conduct a safety inspection. This is an important safety and compliance requirement.
- Do not attempt to DIYUnless you're a licenced electrician, do not attempt to do electrical work after flooding; it's illegal and dangerous. Do not switch the electricity back on until a professional inspection has taken place.
what to watch out for
If your home is damaged by storms, hail, or floods, pay particular attention to solar panels and electrical appliances.
If you suspect hail or water damage to your solar panels, engage a solar-trained and licenced electrician to check for damage. If left unchecked, damaged or cracked panels have the potential to spark fires or give electric shocks. Check with your home insurance provider to see if you can claim the repairs through your policy.
Keep in mind that solar panels will continue to produce electricity if they are exposed to light, even if your electricity supply has been switched off. Artificial light from emergency services flood lights or streetlights can also produce small amounts of electricity. Find out more about solar panels and how to stay safe around them.
Damaged electrical appliances
When it comes to damaged electrical appliances, it's best to unplug the faulty appliance and take it to an accredited repair store or dispose of the product. A defective or damaged appliance can spark a fire and deliver a nasty electric shock - it is never worth risking your life. Find out more about electrical appliances and Australian Safety Standards.
preparing for storms and floods
- Don't get stuck in the dark - have torches and batteries on hand.
- Keep a hard copy of contact numbers for family, friends, and local services.
- Keep a USB power bank charged and ready for use.
- Keep a battery-powered radio on hand. Your local ABC radio is a great station to keep updated with emergency broadcasts. Look up your local frequency beforehand.
- Turn off your mobile when it’s not in use to conserve battery.
Install safety switches at home
Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity in your house. In the event of a short-circuit, an overload, or equipment failure, a safety switch will almost instantly (within milliseconds) shut off power to the system or appliance in trouble. All homes in Australia should have safety switches installed.
Safety switches can be found on your switchboard and will have a ‘Test’ or ‘T’ button on them. If there are no switches with ‘Test’ or ‘T’ buttons, it means there are no safety switches on the property. If this is the case, ask your licenced electrician to install them. Find out more about safety switches and how they work.
Teach kids how to call 000
It's important your children know what to do in an emergency. Teach your children to call triple zero (000) immediately in a dangerous or life-threatening situation.