Living in Queensland, we understand that unpredictable and powerful storms are a part of life. And, while we may have become accustomed to their arrival every storm season, it's vital to be prepared.
Storm season preparations
Firstly, here's a few tips to assist you in making sure your home is shipshape for the storm season:
- Tidy up unsecured objects around your home and yard.
- Trim loose or dying branches but call a professional tree trimmer if they're near powerlines.
- Check your Emergency Kit and ensure you have water containers and a BBQ or other gas or coal cooking facilities.
- Have extra cash on hand - ATMs and banks may not be operating.
- Pack spare clothing, shoes, sturdy gloves and hats in waterproof containers.
- Freeze water for alternative refrigeration should there be a power failure.
- Make sure your pets' registration and tags are current in case they get lost. Stock up on food, water and medicines for each pet, plus newspapers for their sanitary needs.
- Identify a safe place to evacuate should a storm surge or flood threaten.
- Install a surge protector in your home to help protect sensitive electronic equipment.
Before and on hearing a severe storm or cyclone warning
- Check your storm season preparations.
- Ensure mobile phone batteries are fully charged and have a cord phone ready as cordless phone base stations don't work without electricity.
- Board or tape glass on exposed windows and secure all doors.
- Fill containers with water, including bath and sink, in case water supplies are cut.
- Ensure that your car has a full tank of fuel and is ready to go.
- Store your important documents, medical prescriptions, mementos, photos and valuables in a waterproof container in a secure location like your car boot.
- Heed evacuation warnings if you are in caravans, tents or low lying areas.
- Stay indoors as the storm approaches and ensure pets are secured safely under shelter.
- Turn off and unplug electrical appliances. Unplug TV, DVD or VCR aerial cables.
- Stay inside and away from windows and doors.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio for weather updates and don't venture outside until you know it's safe to do so.
- Use a torch to find your way around.
- Don't use a landline phone during a storm. Use a mobile, but only in emergencies.
- Stay well away from fallen powerlines. Always assume they are 'live' and dangerous. Report them immediately to Triple Zero (000).
- Listen to a battery-operated radio for official advice and power restoration information.
- If you experience tingles or shocks from an electrical appliance or water taps, call us immediately on 13 16 70, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And call your licensed electrical contractor to check your electrical wiring immediately.
- Take extra care around your switchboard if it's outside and wear synthetic or rubber-soled shoes. If you are in any doubt about the switchboard's safety, stay clear and call your licensed electrical contractor.
- Please unplug your appliances at the power point before power is restored to avoid electrical damage or potential fire.
- Don't use any electrical appliances that have been wet or damaged. Have them checked by your licensed electrical contractor.
- Alert neighbours if you think there may be any danger.
- Don't go sight-seeing.
If your home or business sustains damage which prevents the reconnection of power, have a licensed electrical contractor repair electrical damage. Notify us when repairs are complete so power can be restored.
Around fallen powerlines
High winds and flying debris can bring down overhead powerlines. Take care when cleaning up as fallen powerlines hidden in branches, debris or water can be extremely dangerous. Don't take chances and if you find something you think might be a powerline, always assume it is 'live' and dangerous even if it's not sparking.
Keep well away, warn others and call Triple Zero (000).
Warn children not to play or swim in floodwaters as there may be unseen 'live' and dangerous electrical wiring or fallen powerlines which may be hidden by debris in the water.
If you're going away during the storm and cyclone season, it's a good idea to empty, clean and unplug refrigerators and freezers. Leave their doors open. This will avoid spoilage problems if the power fails. If you're unable to, consolidate food and drinks into fewer fridges as a full fridge is more efficient.
You should also switch off and unplug all non-essential electrical equipment to avoid damage from power surges and you'll save electricity as well. More savings can be made by switching off water heaters during holidays.
What to do if the power goes out
While we at Ergon Energy do everything in our power to keep the power on, sometimes interruptions are inevitable during storm season. When restoring power supplies, we always make time for safety - both your safety and the safety of our staff. While our crews are mindful of the importance of restoring power as quickly as possible, their first responsibility is to make our network safe.
If your power goes out - from the safety of your one home, look out the window or contact neighbours to check if the interruption is affecting only your property or is more widespread.
If you can see or hear something that could help identify the problem, like a loud bang or hanging powerlines, stay well clear and contact us on 13 22 96, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Precise details will assist our emergency crews to restore power.
If not, listen to your local radio station or call 13 22 96 which provides regular advice on the power interruption and, if possible, when we expect to have power restored.
If you're experiencing dull or flickering lights, 'brown out', low voltage or partial supply, turn off and unplug appliances like your refrigerator, television, computer and DVD at the power point. Do not touch your switchboard or anything metal in your home and call 13 22 96 immediately.