Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has issued an urgent electrical safety warning to bushfire-affected residents in Victoria.
According to reports, the recent bushfires have burned 1.4 million hectares across the state. Five people have died, with 353 houses and 548 other structures destroyed. MEA CEO Malcolm Richards said that after first checking with local emergency services to ensure it’s safe to return to their property, it’s important returning residents and homeowners understand the potential safety risks even for homes spared the worst of the fires.
“Any home that has been affected by heat may have damage to wiring that may not be immediately apparent,’’ Mr Richards said. “It is also important to ensure that protection equipment such as safety switches are correctly functioning.
“MEA urges returning residents in bushfire affected areas to arrange for a fully licensed and insured electrical contractor to conduct an electrical safety inspection before reconnecting the power,” Mr Richards said.
“Thousands of homeowners across the state have already experienced enough trauma and we don’t want to see lives lost.’’
Mr Richards said homeowners should be careful when accepting support from volunteers when returning to their homes. “When it comes to electricity, it’s extremely important that only a licensed and insured contractor inspect and test the wiring of your home,’’ Mr Richards said. “To allow anyone else to work on electricity in the home leaves homeowners at risk of being uninsured for the potential damage to property and indeed life.
“This undoubtedly is a stressful time for people affected by the fires but we don’t want to make what has been a traumatic experience even worse.”
Around 12,000 electricians are licensed to operate in Victoria.
Homeowners can check to ensure their contractor is licensed at Energy Safe Victoria’s website here or call Master Electricians Australia on 1300 889 198 for confirmation.