How can you stay safe from electrical hazards during a storm

Queensland is subject to storms, flooding, cyclones, and other unpredictable weather. These tips will help you prepare for storm season.

Prepare your home for floods and storms.

Before a storm or wet season

  • Test it frequently by installing a safety toggle.
  • In an emergency, know where to shut off power, gas, and water supply.
  • Take away any electrical equipment you don’t use and put it in a safe location.
  • Store in a dry place and unplug outside TVs or non-fixed aerials.
  • When a storm is approaching, turn off and unplug any electrical equipment.
  • Use the safe isolation method to shut down your solar PV system.

These simple tips will help you and your home stay safe in a flood or storm.

  • For weather updates, listen to your local radio station.
  • If you have lost power, turn off the power and unplug any electrical equipment.
  • Avoid using a fixed phone during thunderstorms, as you could get an electric shock.
  • If floodwaters are likely, move electrical equipment to higher places.
  • Avoid powerlines, trees, and watercourses.

After a flood or storm, clean up.

It is important to safely clean up after a storm.

  • For more advice and warnings, listen to your local radio station.
  • Notify the emergency services and your local electricity distribution company of any fallen, low or damaged powerlines.
  • Avoid electrical signs, streetlights, cables, foil insulation, and other conductive materials that might be found around your home.
  • If they are damaged by fire, water or lightning, stay away from them and warn others not to touch them.
  • It’s illegal and dangerous to do electrical work yourself. You should always use a licensed electrician in North Brisbane.
  • Avoid climbing on the roof of a solar power system. Also, keep your hands off of cables and solar panels.
  • If asbestos is present, make sure to remove it safely.

Damage to property or connections

Verification tests may be required for any property or connecting line that has been damaged in a storm or flood.

This task can only be performed by a licensed electrician. A certificate of testing will verify that your local electricity distribution company can reconnect your service.

Queensland Disaster Management has more information on storm safety and actions you can take before, during, and after a storm.

Solar PV systems

Before your solar PV system is re-commissioned, you should have it inspected by a licensed electrician. This inspection is necessary before the rest of the clean-up is around the PV cells and any associated wiring.

Even though the network supply is shut off, the PV systems will still produce voltages throughout the day so that the PV cells, as well as the associated wiring, can continue to operate.

During a clean-up:

  • After a storm/flood/cyclone, do not try to shut off the system.
  • Avoid the wiring and solar panels.
  • Get an electrician to inspect the system.

Once your system is tested and safe, you can start the setup process.

Your solar PV system generates electricity even though the sun isn’t out. The system and its wires should always be treated as living.

Learn more about solar PV safety.

How can you stay safe from electrical hazards during a storm

Equipment and appliances that use electricity

Water-damaged equipment can lead to electric shocks or fires.

  • Have a licensed electrician remove water-affected electrical equipment, such as televisions, toasters, and kettles.
  • A licensed electrician should inspect all water-damaged, hard-wired appliances such as stoves or air-conditioning units that are intended for re-use. This safety inspection may be necessary before the power supply can again be connected.

Learn more about electrical equipment.

Generators

Generators can cause serious injury, so be careful:

  • Use a generator switch to connect your generator to the house’s electrical wiring. These switches should only be installed by an electrician licensed to do so.
  • You should not connect your generator with your house via a power point or other connection point. This could lead to dangerous back-feeding.
  • Make sure all leads that connect to your generator are in working order.
  • Powerboards should be equipped with an overload cutout switch.
  • The generator can be used outdoors or in a well-ventilated location.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not exceed the generator’s maximum load rating.

Learn more about generator safety

Additional information

Contact your local distribution agency for more information about storms and electrical safety in your area.

Learn more information for employers and workers about being prepared for natural disasters.