Storm season in Queensland is no joke. Flash floods, strong winds, and hail can cause major property damage, even death. Water and wind aren’t the only dangers, though. It’s also important to protect your family from deadly electrical surges, both before and after a storm.
Before the Storm
First, learn where to shut off your power when a severe storm hits. This can protect you in case of flash flooding or lightning strikes.
One simple safety precaution is installing safety switches on circuits, and checking them often to make sure they’re still working properly. It’s easy to confuse safety switches with circuit breakers. They both protect from electrical shock, but breakers shut off electricity when a circuit is overloaded. Safety switches, on the other hand, continuously check electrical flow through the circuit. When a leak is detected, the entire circuit shuts off immediately.
When a threatening storm approaches, turn off and unplug all the electrical appliances and devices in your home, and shut down your solar PV system with safe isolation. Shut off your power. If you have any unused electrical devices or equipment lying around, move them to a safer place for storage.
If you happen to be out driving during the storm, be alert and stay away from any downed power lines or trees. Never attempt to drive through watercourses. It’s difficult to accurately judge the depth and speed of moving water, and if you’re wrong, you can be swept away.
After the storm
After the storm has passed, you can listen to the radio station for news and weather information.
If any of your appliances or electrical items have been water damaged, either throw them away or have them repaired by a licensed electrical contractor. Just because they seem dry, doesn’t mean they’re safe to use. All the wiring must be checked first.
When you go outside, stay away from any downed power lines. Don’t walk near them or drive over them. Warn your neighbours, and call your local electricity provider to report them.
Never attempt to repair your own switchboard or inspect a damaged solar PV system. It’s not only unsafe. It’s illegal to attempt these repairs yourself. Instead, contact a licensed electrical contractor.
By following these simple guidelines, you can keep you and your family safe from electrical hazards during the storm season.