Bushfire Safety

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Property owners

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Property owners – electricity reconnection

Safety is paramount when dealing with bushfires and bushfire recovery.

Find out how to keep you and your family protected.

  • Recovery: Important information for bushfire affected residents

    What to do after a bushfire

    • Contact a qualified electrician to check for damage prior to restoring the electricity
    • Ensure any appliances are clear of any electrical faults to avoid any further loss or damage. A damaged appliance can give an electric shock or spark a fire so make sure all electrical appliances are declared 100 percent safe before they are plugged back in. These kinds of checks should be routine during recovery
    • A Master Electrician will be able to accurately assess any electrical risks in your home, including testing household appliances for electrical faults or water damage
    • Take care for fallen or damaged power lines. Fallen power lines are very dangerous and can be especially hard to see at night and when hidden in trees or other debris
    • Always assume fallen power lines are ‘live’, keep away and warn others to do the same. Report fallen power lines and trees or branches in contact with power lines to your electricity provider.

    Consumer guides

    New South Wales – Consumer advice and electrical safety for fire affected properties

    Victoria – Consumer advice and electrical safety for fire affected properties

    Victorian Residents

    If you are located in Victoria, Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has important information about reporting power outages and faults and the the safe use of electrical and gas appliances following bushfires.

    The full guidance is available here and provides information and directions for:

    • Safely turning your power back on
    • Solar panel installations – safety and testing
    • Generator usage and connection
    • Safety around LPG – before evacuation and post-return
    • Natural gas supply.
  • Bushfire health advice

    Recent bushfire conditions have resulted in very poor air quality across Australia. The following is a list of recommendations for affected communities across the country.

    Protecting your health

    • The community is advised to remain indoors and close all windows and doors and operate air-conditioners if available.
    • All air conditioners should be switched to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’ mode.
    • If you do not have an air conditioner, take steps to reduce heat stress, especially for the very young, people who are unwell, or the elderly.
    • People with pre-existing lung or heart conditions should rest as much as possible and keep away from the smoke.
    • People with asthma should follow their personal asthma plan.
    • Anyone with a heart or lung condition should follow the treatment plan advised by their doctor and keep at least five days’ supply of medication on hand.
    • Avoid physical activity outdoors this includes outdoor workplace activities (exertion allows more fine particles to be breathed deeper into the lungs).
    • Schools and childcare centres should cease outdoor activities and children should stay indoors in areas with air-conditioning and/or ceiling fans.
    • It is recommended that organisers of outdoor events should consider postponing the event until air quality improves.
    • Assist your vulnerable family members, neighbours and friends. It is important to identify locations that have cleaner, filtered air-conditioned spaces (e.g. shopping centres, community centres, libraries etc).
    • If there is a break in smoky conditions, take the opportunity to air out your home to improve indoor air quality.
    • When indoors, minimise other sources of air pollution, such as cigarette smoke, burning candles, using unflued gas appliances including gas stoves, or stirring up fine dust from sweeping or vacuuming.
    • It is important to also stay hydrated by drinking water.
    • Stay up to date with local news reports.

    Source: Queensland Health

    More information

    • Contact your doctor, hospital or health clinic
    • All States: Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
    • Visit healthdirect for a list of additional resources.
  • Emergency contact numbers and useful links

    Dial Triple Zero (000) for Police, Fire and Ambulance in an emergency.

    State Emergency Service
    Dial 132 500 for help with a damaged roof, rising flood water, trees fallen on buildings, or storm damage.

    Non-urgent medical help
    Dial 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)

    Weather warnings
    Bureau of Meteorology

    Provides information on Australian Government assistance packages following a disaster. Includes up to date public information messages, relevant free call numbers and links to other related websites and information.

    Radio and social media
    Tune in to your local ABC radio station to stay informed during severe weather events and natural disasters.

    Contact Master Electricians Australia for more information
    Call 1300 889 198 or to book a Master Electrician to assist you, visit our Master Electricians Online Booking Service

  • Support and financial assistance for businesses
    Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

    The ATO is automatically deferring lodgement or payments due to residents in bushfire affected postcodes. No application for deferral is required – income tax, activity statement, SMSF and FBT lodgments, and their associated payments, will be deferred until 28 May 2020.

    Refunds due to residents or businesses in bushfire affected postcodes with also be automatically fast tracked.

    Australian Government

    DisasterAssist is being used as a temporary website for the current bushfire disaster as payments and allowances. People affected by bushfires may able to apply for a one-off disaster recovery payment or the short-term income support disaster recovery allowance.

    Find out more

    The Australian Government has announced grants of up to $50,000, low-interest loans of up to $500,000 and a new financial support service for bushfire affected businesses. We’ll provide more details here as they become available.

    Find out more

    State Governments

    Support for bushfire-impacted businesses in each state is available here:

    NSW Rural Assistance Authority: 1800 678 593
    Service NSW

    South Australia PIRSA Recovery Hotline: 1800 931 314
    Disaster recovery

    Victoria Rural Finance: 1800 260 425

  • What to do in a blackout / power outage

    Coping without electricity

    Interruptions to your electricity supply can seriously hamper your lifestyle. You will need to think of some alternative ways to look after yourself safely during electricity supply disruption in your area. The following are suggestions you may find useful, alternatively you may consider going to stay with family or friends until the power has been restored.

    Preparing food

    • Never use a barbeque inside a home, tent or caravan
    • Observe fire ban rules implemented by your local fire service and avoid cooking outside
    • Use foods that don’t require cooking, such as vegetables, tinned meats, bread and breakfast cereals.

    Washing safely

    • Take special care when heating water in an unfamiliar way. Add some cool water to prevent burns
    • If you need to carry containers of hot or boiling water, don’t overfill them and make sure you insulate the handles to prevent scalds from steam. Keep children away when carrying boiling water
    • Before bathing, check the temperature of the water. Don’t attempt to top up with hot or boiling water when someone is already sitting in the bath.


    • Torches are much safer sources of light than candles. Make sure you have a good stock of batteries

    Helping your neighbours

    Check on your neighbours to see if they need assistance, particularly if they are:

    • Older people living at home by themselves
    • People with physical or sensory disabilities
    • People with a chronic illness
    • Single parents with young children.

    General suggestions

    • Switch off all electrical appliances, especially those that have heating elements
    • Unplug ‘surge-sensitive’ equipment, such as computers
    • Keep one light switch turned on so you know when the power returns
    • Turn on a battery operated radio and listen to a local radio station for information.

    Contacting an electrician

    Master Electricians are all experienced electrical contractors who complete a stringent, annual safety and quality audit, adhere to a code of practice, and offer customers a 12‐month guarantee on their work.

    Book your local Master Electrician online or call 1300 889 198.

    Source: SES NSW

  • Buying and usage guide for generators

    Before purchasing a generator you must consider what it will be used for. Will you be using a portable generator to take camping or will it be used as a standby generator for your home in case of a power outage?

    You will also need to take into consideration the size of generator needed to supply the items you would like to power.

    Generators: Buying Guide

    Type of generator

    The first question to ask yourself is will the generator be:

    • Used with directly connected plug-in appliances; or
    • Connected via a plug and appliance inlet to your home via a changeover switch (installed by a qualified electrical contractor); or
    • A hard wired connection to your home via a changeover switch (installed by a qualified electrical contractor).

    If you will be purchasing a generator for use with plug-in equipment like hand-held equipment (e.g. a drill) you will need to purchase a generator that incorporates an RCD (Safety Switch) or is an inverter generator.

    If you will be purchasing a generator to plug in or hard wire directly into your home via a changeover switch, an RCD should not be incorporated into the generator. An inverter generator would be the most suitable type, like the Honda EU range or Yamaha EF range for example. In this case the equipment in your home will be controlled by the RCD’s installed in your switchboard.

    The lead
    If you are using a plug in type generator the supply lead from the generator to your house will need to be the correct size for the generator – if unsure check with your electrical contractor.

    The supply lead will also need to be installed to be protected against any mechanical damage, for example installed in a suitable wiring enclosure.

    Suicide lead fact sheetThis fact sheet has been created to highlight the dangers of the use of extension leads with a male plug fitted to both ends commonly called a suicide lead, to connect a generator to a house.

    Where to put the generator

    Gas or fume poisoning is not to be taken lightly, therefore generators need to be placed in well ventilated areas, preferably outside where exhaust gases, smoke or fumes cannot reach dangerous levels or enter any areas that people may occupy. Generators must also not be exposed to the weather unless they are suitably protected.

    Care must be taken with the positioning of the generator to make sure refuelling can be performed easily.  High temperature surfaces or equipment that may emit arcs or sparks may cause ignition when refuelling.

    Other information

    Always read and follow your manufacturer’s instructions before using your generator and make sure your generator is properly maintained so it is ready for use when it is needed.

    Earth stakes are not required or recommended on a generator as per AS 3010.  If unsure please check with your electrical contractor.

    In most cases the best all-purpose generator is an inverter type generator but if you have questions about the type of generator that is best for you, you should consult your local Master Electrician.

  • Electrical safety contact numbers

    Dial Triple Zero (000) for Police, Fire and Ambulance in an emergency. Keep the contact information of your local electrician handy in case you need to contact them urgently. If you need to report faulty or unsafe electrical work, contact the number listed below in your state.

    Planning and Land Authority
    02 6207 1923

    Office of Fair Trading
    13 32 20

    Department of Justice: Consumer Affairs
    1800 019 319

    Electrical Safety Office
    1300 650 662

    Office of Consumer and Business Affairs Product Safety/Trade Standards
    08 8152 0732

    Department of Justice: Workplace Standards
    03 6233 7657

    Energy Safe Victoria
    03 9203 9700

    Department of Employee and Consumer Protection
    1300 30 40 54

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