Western Australians urged to ensure safety of gas and electrical installations before start of bushfire season

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With a higher than normal fire potential predicted for parts of Western Australia this bushfire season, people are urged to ensure that gas and electrical installations on their property are safe and in good working condition.

Ken Bowron, Director of Energy Safety, advised consumers to check their private power poles and power lines and any LP Gas cylinders before the bushfire season starts.

“Poorly maintained or damaged private power poles or power lines may increase the risk of fire or electrical hazard, resulting in serious risks to people and property,” said Mr. Bowron.

“Private power poles and lines should be checked once a year and after severe weather events to ensure there are no signs of deterioration.

“However, do not climb a pole, approach the wires, attempt any electrical repairs or cut any vegetation near an energised power line, as contact with live wires can kill.

“A visual inspection should be carried out, and obvious defects such as leaning poles, low hanging or damaged wires; large cracks or termite damage in wood poles and corrosion in steel poles at the ground line should be looked for.

“If any defects are found or suspected during a visual inspection, a licensed electrical contractor should be contacted to carry out further inspection or repairs.

“Vegetation should be cleared from around the base of power poles and be at least two metres clear of power lines. If it is not, arrange for the vegetation to be cleared by a competent vegetation control contractor.”

Consumers with private power lines or poles on their property are responsible in maintaining them. Network operators should be contacted if the power lines or poles are their responsibility.

“The 45kg domestic LP Gas cylinder is used widely throughout bushfire prone areas, however it does not pose a significant additional risk during bushfires as long as it is correctly installed and maintained,” said Mr. Bowron.

“These gas cylinders should be installed outside buildings on a firm, level and non-combustible base and secured to a solid structure. They should be clear of any combustible materials and the safety valves should be positioned so they point away from adjacent structures and cylinders.

LP Gas cylinders should also be checked to ensure there is not damage such as dents and gouges that will affect the cylinder’s integrity.”

A Guideline for the Safe Management of private power poles and lines and further information on vegetation control and LP gas cylinders are available on www.energysafety.wa.gov.au

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