Fires, including bushfires, can damage and destroy vital community infrastructure such as the electricity network. Depending on the damage, it may take days or longer to complete repairs to electrical infrastructure.
We advise people to follow three important steps to be prepared:
- Be Safe. Your health and safety is the priority.
- Be Smart. If the power goes out, you’ll want to stay connected.
- Be Ready. Have a plan in place for back-up power.
But if a major fire or bushfire is threatening, then follow these tips to know what to do immediately before, during and after the event in relation to electricity safety.
Before the fire
- If you are evacuating then do so early as fallen or sagging powerlines affected by high temperatures can increase safety risks on the roads.
- If you choose to stay in the property, be aware you may lose power, even if your home or business isn’t directly affected by the fires.
- Check your emergency plan and kit.
- Know where a safe evacuation point is planned within your community.
During a fire
- If the fire is near powerlines, stay at least 25 metres away from the powerlines.
- Beware of powerlines sagging lower and swaying wider than usual due to high temperatures and winds.
- Beware of burned trees which may threaten to fall causing risks for both people and powerlines.
- Beware of fallen powerlines and anything in contact with them. Call us to report it immediately on 13 20 99.
- If your vehicle comes into contact with a fallen powerline or power pole, remain in the vehicle if it is safe to do so and call 000 immediately. See how to make an emergency escape below for more information.
After the fire
- If you evacuated, then check emergency services information to see if it is safe to return.
- Check our outage map for the estimated time for power will be back on.
- Report fallen powerlines, network damage, fires or trees contacting powerlines immediately on 13 20 99 or call 000 if the situation is life-threatening.
- If water used for fire fighting entered your property then be careful and make sure it is safe before turning appliances back on.
- If any switches do not turn on, or automatically shut off, this indicates the wiring may be affected.
- You’ll need a licensed electrician to test our wiring and appliances.
- If you have rooftop solar panels, then contact your installer or a licensed electrician to check the condition of these panels before turning the system on.
- We monitor fire reports closely to make sure our crews are safe and ready for anything.
- We make sure high priority maintenance is completed.
- Field work may be reduced leading up to the event so crews are fresh and able to be called in at all hours.
- Resources including field crews, network operators, Customer Service Agents and equipment are on stand-by for immediate response.
- We’ll coordinate with other emergency services to clear fallen trees on roads and for directions to ensure it is safe for our crews to travel into affected areas and to respond.
- Our focus will be on reducing the numbers of customers affected and restoring power as quickly and safely as possible.
- We’ll send messages to customers via SMS if there is a power outage and including an estimate time of restoration. Initially, this estimate is dependent on a site assessment by our crews.
- We’ll keep our outage map and list up to date.
- Our Mobile Engagement and Response Vehicle (fondly known as MERV) may be deployed into affected communities. This provides an on-the-ground place to talk with our people about power supplies and offers 20 charging lockers for small devices like mobile phones as well as cup of hot tea.
Beware of fallen power lines
- Always treat them as ‘live’ and stay at least 10 metres away
- Report them immediately by calling: 13 20 99
- If the situation is life-threatening, call 000
Listen: Beware of fallen power lines
Extreme weather can damage power poles and wires.
Always beware of fallen power lines always treat them as alive and stay at least 10 metres away.
Report them immediately by calling 132099.
If the situation is life threatening call 000.
Escape fallen powerlines
How to make an emergency escape if trapped by fallen powerlines
- Remain in the vehicle, if safe to do so, and call 000 immediately.
- If escape is absolutely necessary (because of fire), jump well clear to avoid contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
- When you jump, land with your feet together. Do not touch the vehicle, fall or allow your feet to step apart.
- You must shuffle or jump, with your feet together until you are at least 10 metres clear of the vehicle, powerlines or anything else in contact with them.
- Once clear, do not return to the vehicle for any reason.
- Call 13 20 99 to report the fallen power lines.
Listen: Escape fallen powerlines
How to make an emergency escape if trapped by fallen powerlines
Remain in the vehicle, if safe to do so, and call 000 immediately.
If escape is absolutely necessary (because of fire), jump well clear to avoid contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
When you jump, land with your feet together. Do not touch the vehicle, fall or allow your feet to step apart.
You must shuffle or jump, with your feet together until you are at least 10 metres clear of the vehicle, powerlines or anything else in contact with them.
Once clear, do not return to the vehicle for any reason.
Call 13 20 99 to report the fallen power lines.
If your property has been disconnected or affected by fire or water, you will need a registered electrical contractor:
- Search by location through Energy Safe Victoria at: https://esv.vic.gov.au/licensi...
- The electrician will complete a safety and compliance inspection
- Once any repairs are done they will issue a Certificate of Electrical Safety to us.
- They’ll arrange the reconnection of your power through us by phoning 1300 275 804.
Listen: Power reconnections
If there is damage to power infrastructure on your property, you'll need a registered electrical contractor.
Search by location through Energy Safe Victoria esv.vic.gov.au.
The electrician will complete a safety and compliance inspection.
Once any repairs are done, they'll issue a certificate of electrical safety to us.
They'll arrange the reconnection of your power through us by finding 1300 275 804.
For emergencies that threaten life or property, call 000
For State Emergency Services call 132 500 or visit ses.vic.gov.au
Download the VicEmergency app at: emergency.vic.gov.au
13 14 50
If you need interpreter services call: 13 14 50