Queenslanders who are preparing to clean up after Cyclone Debbie and related rains are urged to be careful, especially around solar panels or buildings where asbestos may be present.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said electricity and water is a dangerous combination, especially where buildings may have been damaged by the cyclone.
“As well as the danger posed by downed power lines, flood waters can pose electrical risk where buildings are still connected to mains power,” Mr de Brenni said.
“If your home or business becomes inundated with floodwater and the mains power is still connected, contact Ergon Energy immediately on 13 22 96 to arrange disconnection.”
Mr de Brenni warned that solar PV systems can continue to generate electricity even when not connected to mains power, and residual moisture could cause a solar system to become energised.
“Don’t take chances - always treat all solar PV systems as live,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Do not reconnect any systems or attempt to operate any switches until a licensed electrical contractor has certified the installation is safe.
“For more information, contact Energy Queensland on 13 22 96 or visit www.energyq.com.au (external site).”
Mr de Brenni also urged residents who use generators after the storm event to take extra care.
“If you use a generator, make sure the generator is in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside away from doors and windows.
“Don’t use a generator in a poorly ventilated area and definitely don’t use one in a closed room. You are at risk of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning,” he said.
People in a storm affected area should also be aware of the dangers of asbestos from damaged buildings.
“Damaged asbestos sheeting is extremely dangerous, it’s deadly and should only be removed by a professional.
“If you believe you have damaged materials which may contain asbestos, you should cover it up with a tarp or similar, and contact your local council for advice and assistance.
“If your home was built before 1990, it is likely to contain some asbestos materials.”
For further advice regarding asbestos removal from homes, contact your local authority, call 13 QGOV (13 74 68), or go to http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/asbestos.
Contacts for residents impacted by the severe weather event can be found here