What to do in an emergency

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 Content Editor

Leaks, floods, power failures and fires are just a few of the property problems you might be faced with one day, and they can happen when you least expect them to. This handy guide looks at a few emergency situations and gives you essential tips on what to do before, during and after disaster strikes.

Be prepared

When an emergency happens, you need to act quickly to keep everyone safe and limit damage to your property. There are some simple precautions you can take to help prepare for the worst.

Take a few minutes to find out where the mains electrical fuse box and mains water stop tap are situated for your property, as you may need to turn off your supply in a hurry. It’s a good idea to keep a list of emergency numbers handy so you can react to water or electrical problems quickly: a licenced plumber, a qualified electrician, your doctor, ADDC’s emergency number. Next, prepare a small safety kit containing a simple flashlight and some basic first-aid equipment and keep it to hand; don’t forget to check the torch’s batteries from time to time. Also, play it safe by fitting smoke detectors in your home and make sure you have a valid insurance policy that covers flood and fire damage.

Network emergencies

As a general rule, if a crisis situation only affects your property, it’s usually up to you to deal with it. However, if an emergency affects the whole neighbourhood — like damaged network power lines, a problem with any ADDC property, large-scale flooding or an electricity outage along your street — it’s likely to be a network or equipment issue, so it’s our responsibility to put it right.

Our emergency line is always open to receive your calls, so if you see something that needs our attention dial 991 for Electricity and 992 for Water emergencies and report it immediately.

Take charge of electrical safety

If we are planning an interruption to your service we try to give you at least 2 days notice, but sometimes an unexpected electricity failure can happen. When your power goes off, see if your neighbours are having the same problem; if it’s just your property in the dark, check the main electricity trip switch and try turning it back on. If it trips again you may have an electrical fault in your home, so get it checked out by a qualified electrician.

Never attempt your own electrical repairs or maintenance work, leave it to the experts. A faulty electrical appliance or a wiring problem could cause a fire. If this happens, turn the power supply off immediately, either at the plug or the mains switch, or disconnect the dangerous appliance. Never throw water on an electrical fire, use a multi-purpose fire extinguisher where possible but if the blaze becomes serious get everyone out of danger immediately and call the civil defence on 997.

Any direct contact with your power supply can be life threatening, so if a friend or relative suffers an electric shock it’s important that you don’t touch them or you could be electrocuted too. Turn the power off immediately, either at the plug or the mains switch. If you can’t, use something insulated or wooden to break the victim’s contact with the live current, as the longer they’re being electrocuted the more danger they’re in. Always seek medical advice immediately in cases of shock, even when the victim seems unhurt.

Be water wise

If your property becomes flooded, you’ll need to turn off both your water and electricity supply at the mains. This will help to stop the flood and also keep water away from the electrics, which should help to prevent fires or shocks. Stay away from any wet or damp electrical fittings and call in the professionals to deal with the situation. After the excitement has died down, try to take pictures of any serious damage to show your insurance company.

The water we supply to you is treated and regularly tested for quality, so it’s safe to use and drink. Once the same water reaches your storage tank, however, it’s out of our control. Many households aren’t aware that debris and contaminants can build up in your property’s pipes and water tank, which can affect the quality of your water. To avoid discolouration and bacterial problems, you or your landlord needs to make sure the water tank and pipes are cleaned regularly and properly maintained.

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