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Safety with electricity and gas

22 September 2023

Electricity and water is a dangerous combination. There are several things you can do to keep yourself and others safe:

  • If you smell gas then vacate the area immediately. From a remote location, call the local gas company or supplier, or call 111 – so the source of the gas can be found and fixed.
  • Assume downed power lines are live and keep well away from them.
  • If any electrical components (including plugs, sockets, and charging equipment) have been wet, they need to be checked by an electrician for safety.
  • If your house or workplace has been affected by water, turn the power off at the mains and get an electrician to check things out and disconnect any unsafe wiring before turning the power on again – if that can be done safely.
  • If you need to use electrical equipment in a wet area, remember to use a safety switch (RCD) like you would when using appliances outdoors. Keep your hands dry when operating switches or equipment.
  • If circuit breakers have tripped, especially safety switches (RCDs), do not reset them until an electrician has checked them, otherwise you risk an electric shock.
  • Pay attention to the safety of children, who are much more affected by electric shocks. In the event of an electric shock, no matter how minor, turn off the supply of electricity at the mains and do not turn it on again until it has been checked by an electrician. Keep everyone well away to ensure no one else receives further shocks.
  • Electric vehicle (EV) chargers should not be used if they have been under water or exposed to water, get an electrician to check it out first.
  • Do not run your car inside a garage if you are using the car to charge equipment.
  • Battery-powered equipment will not have an electric shock risk but may pose a fire risk. If batteries have been under water, get them checked by an electrician.

What to do after a flood

Energy safety information

(Information from WorkSafe New Zealand.)

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