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Fire safety advice for when flood clean up begins

Published: 2nd April 2017

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is urging people in flood-affected areas to pay particular attention to their fire safety when cleaning up during the flood and when it recedes.

FRNSW Acting Commissioner Jim Hamilton said affected residents and businesses should take all precautions to ensure their safety during the clean up process.

“Listen to the advice of emergency service agencies and only undertake clean up activities when it is deemed safe to do so,” he said.

“The message is simple - don’t risk your life or the life of others. Don’t take any chances and please ensure that safety is your number one priority.

Fire Safety for flood recovery:

  • If you have lost household power and are using candles or portable light or heating sources, never leave them unattended and ensure they are kept well away from all flammable material;
  • Always extinguish candles or any other open flame before going to bed;
  • Don’t use LPG or solid fuel burning BBQs indoors as they emit poisonous Carbon Monoxide;
  • Don’t use patio heaters or other LPG fuelled heating devices inside your home. They are designed for outdoor use only and emit poisonous Carbon Monoxide;
  • If you have lost household power, turn off all appliances at the power points as they may be affected by a power surge when the power resumes;
  • Solar panels will continue to generate live electrical power. If you have water affected power points you must isolate your solar panels by switching the Main Isolation Switch to “OFF”. Do not turn back on until you have had your electrical cabling and solar power system checked by an authorised electrician. Be aware that the cabling between your solar panels and the Main Isolation Switch will remain live during daylight hours. If your roof has sustained any damage be aware that your roof and roof cavity may be live with electrical energy;
  • Any electrical appliances which may have been in contact with water must be inspected by a qualified electrician before use to ensure they can be operated safely;
  • If drying clothing or other flood affected items, keep them at least one metre from heaters or fireplaces and never leave them unattended. If you use a clothes dryer make sure you clean the lint filter each and every time you use it;
  • If you have a garage or shed, remember to take extra care with any stored pool and other chemicals and fuels. If they have been water affected, handle with extreme caution and use the recommended protective equipment - gloves, safety goggles, etc;
  • If you are concerned about stored chemicals, contact your local Fire Station for advice.

In the event of fire, leave the house and call 000 (Triple Zero) and ask for Fire.

Please visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au for further fire safety information and fact sheets. For the latest on flood warnings and other safety issues please visit www.ses.nsw.gov.au