Electricity, gas, and natural events or emergencies are a dangerous combination. There are several things you can do to keep yourself and others safe:

  • Always assume downed power lines are live and keep away from them.
  • If you smell gas then leave the area immediately. From a remote location, call the local gas company or supplier, or call 111 – so the source of the gas can be found and fixed.
  • If there’s a power outage, turn off all the lights and unplug appliances and devices, especially appliances that shouldn't be unattended. This will also protect them from damage if a surge occurs when power returns.
  • If any electrical components (including plugs, sockets, and charging equipment) have been wet, they need to be checked by an electrician for safety.
  • If your house or workplace has been affected by water, turn the power off at the mains and get an electrician to check things out and disconnect any unsafe wiring before turning the power on again – if that can be done safely.
  • If you need to use electrical equipment in a wet area, remember to use a safety switch (RCD) like you would when using appliances outdoors. Keep your hands dry when operating switches or equipment.
  • If circuit breakers have tripped, especially RCDs, do not reset them until an electrician has checked them, otherwise you risk an electric shock.
  • In the event of an electric shock, no matter how minor, turn off the supply of electricity at the mains and do not turn it on again until it has been checked by an electrician. Keep everyone well away to ensure no one else receives further shocks.
  • Pay attention to the safety of children, who are much more affected by electric shocks.
  • Electric vehicle (EV) chargers should not be used if they have been under water or exposed to water, get an electrician to check it out first.
  • Do not run your car inside enclosed spaces, like your garage, if you are using your car to charge equipment.
  • Don’t use cooking appliances for heating.
  • Battery-powered equipment will not have an electric shock risk but may pose a fire risk. If a battery looks damaged or swollen, do not use it. Place it outside and then safely dispose of it.
  • If in doubt, get a professional in to check.

Managing health and safety

What to do in an emergency | getready.govt.nz(external link)

Energy safety information