Take precautions

Know where and how to turn off utilites that supply your home, such as mains power, water, gas, and solar power.

To enable fast action in an emergency, draw a map of your property and clearly mark the location of your electrical switchboard, natural gas connection or tanks, water supply, and solar inverter. Store this with your Household Emergency Plan.

Remember to turn off power at the main switch in your switchboard. Two separate inspections must occur on a flood-affected property before power can be reconnected to your property, one by your electricity provider and another by a licensed electrician who will inspect and test household wiring. 

If the water supply system has been flooded, assume it is contaminated. Damage to water pipes is reduced when depressurised. Shove a towel down into the water bowel and weigh that down with a sand bag or brick, to reduce contamination of floodwater by untreated sewage.

Turn off your gas supply or gas cylinders. Do not attempt to use gas appliances if your property has been inundated. Any gas installation affected by floodwaters must be checked by a licensed gasfitter, at your expense, before the gas supply can be restored. Your flood insurance might cover the expense. Your gas provider should replace flood-affected regulators or meters that form part of the gas network.

If your solar system is at risk of being subjected to a flood, this is what you should do.

Your solar power system should shut down if mains power is turned off. However, you can manually turn off the solar power system by following the shutdown procedure listed on or near your solar inverter or meter box. Do not attempt to turn the solar power system on when floods have receded. Call your installer, explain the situation and ask them to recommission the system. Or call your licensed electrical contractor. The inverter will need to be replaced if it has been submerged.

Do not attempt to approach your solar power system or attempt to turn it off if any of the components are flooded or wet, as this could cause a lethal electric shock.

In the event floodwaters affect your areas and you lose mains power supply (electricity) to your house, your photovoltaic array power system is designed to cut out immediately. Do not attempt to turn your inverter back on. If you wish to manually shut down your inverter, please read the instructions located on or near the inverter.

Homeowners who are forced onto their rooftops to avoid floodwater need to stay well clear of the panels and associated wiring, because the panels will continue to produce power event though the mains supply is off.

Only allow licensed electricians to access the switchboard or electrical equipment that has been affected by floods. If in doubt, get professional advice. Don't put your life in danger.

Trim trees and overhanging branches to prevent electrical interference.

Before you plant any trees consider how high and wide the tree will ultimately grow. Position new trees and shrubs away from the house and powerlines to minimise the dangers caused by falling trees or branches damaging your house or bringing down powerlines. Plant Smart is a vegetation management program developed by Ergon and Greening Australia to help you choose trees and shrubs suitable for planting under powerlines.

The main reason for pruning trees is to reduce the risk of damage to your car, home, and family. Pruning encourages tree to develop a strong structure, which reduces the risk of falling trees and branches during severe weather events.  And you can use the aged forest mulch as compost for your garden.

Because you live in a flood-prone area, you should keep a keen eye on whether trees near powerlines could come into contact with and damage powerlines. Do not attempt to prune trees in or near powerlines. If you are concerned a tree is too close to powerlines, advise your electricity provider.