Electricians warn of hidden dangers in Debbie’s aftermath

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has today called on residents affected by Cyclone Debbie to put their safety ahead of everything else, amid myriad of hidden dangers lurking in its aftermath. 

MEA Queensland Manager Gary Veenstra said while most residents have been mindful about the possibility of downed powerlines being hidden from view, cyclones if this magnitude leave a trail of other hidden dangers for those not paying attention.

“We are imploring everyone to take an extra moment in the madness, and make sure everyone in their family is putting safety first.

“It’s critical to pay attention to solar panels and their cables – even when the networks are down, they can continue to produce direct current power, and should always be treated as if they are live,” Mr Veenstra said.

“Do not attempt to reconnect them if your roof has sustained any damage whatsoever because your roof may be live, and there may not be any safe way to even visually inspect the damage.

“If you have any suspicions whatsoever about the integrity of your solar PV system, we suggest checking the installer’s procedures which you’ll find at the inverter or the main switchboard, and shutting the system down via the instructions, until you can get a Master Electrician to perform a make-safe,” he said.

Other dangers can include using portable generators in confined spaces.

“One death from generator fumes is too many – it is entirely preventable, and everyone needs to understand just how deadly these fumes can be in an even partially confined space.

“Make sure no one in your family is using a generator anywhere that is not fully ventilated, not even on a verandah, or even outside near a doorway or vent, as the carbon monoxide can still build up, or even seep into your home through airways.

“And of course, never, ever connect a generator to your home’s fixed wiring. Your family’s safety should be front and centre at all times after a natural disaster such as this,” he said.

MEA is also warning residents to be mindful of accidental exposure to asbestos when removing debris – even seemingly harmless jobs like pulling up storm-affected lino can expose you if the backing contains asbestos, because you just cannot tell just by looking at it.

“If you have any concerns about the integrity of your home’s power, please call through to our hotline on 1300 889 198 for further advice, and to be put in touch with a Master Electrician in your area.”

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