Be prepared with storm safety
Wild weather is a common hazard in Western Australia and often causes damage to homes, businesses and the environment. Every year storms including thunder, lightning, hail, flash flooding and gale force winds hit WA.Planning ahead for winter weather and staying safe in a storm is one of the most important steps you can take.
"When it comes to keeping your family safe in a storm, it is best to be prepared,” Synergy’s Manager – Energy Solutions Allen Gerber said. “Trees or branches that come into contact with powerlines can start fires or cause serious accidents.
Property owners should be aware they are responsible for ensuring trees and branches are trimmed and kept clear from the powerlines leading into their property. “It is important to know that Western Power is your network provider and is responsible for all the electrical wiring outside your property.” Western Power and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) have valuable tips and resources available online to help you and your family prepare for a storm.
Ideally before the start of winter, tidy your front and back gardens, including trimming tree branches and checking and clearing your roof, gutters and downpipes of material. Creating a handy pack filled with essentials is another tip to help you prepare for a severe storm. Fill a bag with a battery-powered torch and radio, extra batteries, tools for any emergency repairs, food supplies, bottled water, a first aid kit, blankets and extra clothing (should you be required to evacuate).
Store or weigh down any loose objects around the home that could be displaced by strong winds. This can include pots, garden furniture, outdoor settings, play or pet equipment and tools. Park your vehicle undercover if possible and away from trees. Boat owners should moor their boat or make sure it is adequately protected on land.
Where lightning is active, seek shelter indoors, close curtains and blinds and stay away from windows and doors. This advice is also relevant for strong winds and hail. Before a storm reaches your area, turn off and unplug any appliances such as radios, televisions and computers and do not touch electrical devices while the storm passes through. If you are driving, try to find a safe location and stop your car. Remain alert for hazards such as fallen powerlines and loose debris across roads.
It is important to remember electricity can jump up to six metres, so direct contact with a powerline may not be required for electrocution. The greater the humidity in the surrounding air and the higher the voltage, the further electricity can jump. Keep your distance at all times and never throw objects on to or near a powerline.
If you spot issues with nearby powerlines or external wiring, contact Western Power’s 24/7 emergency number 13 13 51. Stay up-to-date with information during a storm by visiting the DFES website or for weather information visit bom.gov.au. Keep the following numbers handy when a storm is coming: 000 for fire or life threatening emergencies, 132 500 for SES emergency assistance and 13 DFES (13 3337) for emergency information.
DFES’ 10 storm safety tips
- Test your safety switch regularly
- Know where to turn off your power, gas and water supply in case of an emergency
- Store electrical equipment in a safe place when it is not being used
- Switch off and unplug all electrical equipment if a storm is approaching
- Listen to the local radio for weather updates
- Do not use a fixed telephone line during a storm
- If flooding is expected, shift all electrical equipment to a higher place
- If in a vehicle, stay away from powerlines and trees and remain in your car
- Stay away from fallen powerlines and report any to Western Power
- Do not touch a damaged switchboard or attempt to conduct your own electrical work.
- Article original source: The West Australian Online- WA Energy Challenge Supplement
Article original source: The West Australian Online- WA Energy Challenge Supplement