Electrician Brent Hanson warns of the dangers of connecting electricity to flood-affected homes.
Electrician Brent Hanson warns of the dangers of connecting electricity to flood-affected homes. Rob Williams

Walls hold shock hazard

AN ELECTRICIAN working in the Ipswich flood recovery has warned residents to be careful during the rebuilding process.

Brent Hanson said while electrical tradesmen had been doing a good job getting homes reconnected quickly, problems could arise when it came time to demolish damaged wall linings.

He said there was potential for power points and light switches to be exposed and pose a risk of electric shock if walls had to be removed after electricians had completed a safety inspection.

“Shortly after the floods I saw the risks,” he said. “The Electrical Safety Office has since put out an alert which has confirmed what I was worried about.”

In one of the houses Mr Hanson is working on at Basin Pocket he has installed an outdoor power source which hooks up to the temporary consumer mains, allowing builders to get to work on repairs to the house without the need for power points to be connected inside the house.

He has also developed a “15-amp box”, which can be connected to the main switchboard of a residential property once a safety check has been completed.

Both devices can run industrial equipment while ensuring demolition or building work does not compromise the electrical safety of the premises.

In what should serve as another warning to victims, Basin Pocket resident Nick Manning, whose house on McGill Street was under about two metres of water, said he had been approached by shonky tradesmen after the flooding.

“There are too many cowboys out there,” Mr Manning said.

“One bloke asked for $4500 to connect the electricity and he wanted an $800 deposit up-front.

“I asked for his identification and he didn’t have any. But the thing is that when people are desperate, they’ll pay that much.”

Not that getting power restored after flood damage is cheap.

A safety inspection costs about $200 and replacing switches will cost hundreds more.

Mr Hanson’s patented Storm Ready Australia System costs just under $500, or $250 for the smaller 15-amp box unit.

Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick has urged flood-affected residents and volunteers to take care with electrical equipment in the flood clean-up, particularly when working with generators, damaged electrical appliances and reconnection.

“Using a generator to supple- ment domestic electricity during a power outage also carries dangers of poisoning from carbon monoxide gases, fire and electrocution,” Mr Dick said.



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