Don't let home emergencies get in the way this Australia Day

As Victorians prepare to fire up the barbie and celebrate with friends this Australia Day, RACV has assured homeowners it is ready to help keep the party pumping in a home emergency.

RACV Home Services General Manager Aaron Flavell said that recent feedback on an independent product review website showed the type of emergencies that had affected RACV Emergency Home Assist subscribers during the recent festive season.

One member had been away during the storm on 29 December and returned home two days later to discover that the electricity had tripped and there was a leak in the roof.

“The RACV electrician arrived within an hour of making the call, which was amazing given it was New Year’s Eve”, the member wrote on www.productreview.com.au.

A broken water pipe on Christmas Day had one member in trouble, but a plumber arrived within 45 minutes to fix the problem. Another householder was grateful for help when a toilet overflowed on a public holiday, while an older lady needed help when her lights went out on New Year’s eve.

“These types of incidents can be very inconvenient if they happen when you are entertaining or enjoying a day off,” Mr Flavell said.

Between Christmas and New Year’s eve, RACV Emergency Home Assist attended almost 2,000 calls for help from RACV members across metropolitan and regional Victoria.

“We attended an average of 279 incidents per day – more than twice our normal daily average – between Christmas and New Year’s eve,” Mr Flavell said.

“We know how difficult it can be to get hold of a tradesperson at this time of year, so it was especially satisfying to be able to help members get back to enjoying time with family and friends.

“RACV Emergency Home Assist is there 24/7 for our members in an emergency, but it is better if an emergency can be avoided through good maintenance and proper preparation.

“If you have time before your Australia Day celebration or before heading away for the weekend, we recommend that gutters and drains are cleaned and repaired.

“It’s also worthwhile making sure that electrical circuits are not overloaded by having too many appliances such as fridges and music systems connected to the same powerpoint or using too many extension leads.”

Pools and barbecues are naturally attractive features of any Australia Day celebration, but can also pose dangers.

“Victoria’s Emergency Services tell us that they respond to an average of one barbecue accident every day over summer. When there is a party atmosphere with children playing inattention can quickly cause a tragic accident,” Mr Flavell said.

 “If you have a pool, make sure its fencing meets requirements, and move climbable objects such as pot plants, eskies, pool pumps and chairs away from the barrier.

“By following some simple steps Victorians can minimise some dangers before celebrating our national day with family and friends,” Mr Flavell said.

Hot weather is forecast for parts of Victoria in the lead up to Australia Day.  In some areas there may be total fire ban restrictions in place. Not all barbecues are exempt on days declared a total fire ban.  In the event of a fire call 000 for emergency assistance. For more information go to: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can/

 

Festive season call-outs – 25-31 December 2016

Job type

Number of incidents

Ceiling/wall leaks

537

Power problems

344

Broken heater/cooling system

249

Blocked toilets/drains/pipes

198

Broken/burst hot water system

142

Broken tap or showerhead

120

Burst pipes

118

Lock-outs

61

Broken door/window

36

Gas leak

7

 

RACV summer safety tips

BARBECUES

  • Keep children away from barbecues at all times and put lighters and matches out of reach.
  • Ensure that your barbeque is in good condition and when in use is positioned on a firm, level base, sheltered from wind gusts and well away from anything flammable.
  • Make sure LPG cylinders are stored and used correctly. Check for cracked or damaged hoses and faulty regulators. If either is damaged they need to be replaced before use.
  • Have a garden hose available and to be safe, keep a fire extinguisher or fire blanket nearby.

POOLS

  • Never take your eyes off children around water. Active supervision involves parents and carers keeping an eye on children at all times. Do not expect children to look after their younger siblings.
  • Restrict children's access to water through the use of safety barriers such as pool fencing and by removing climbable hazards such as pot plants and chairs away from pool fences.

SUMMER STORMS

  • To avoid leaks caused by summer storms and heavy rains, have your gutters, downpipes and drainage system cleaned regularly.
  • Check roofs for loose tiles. Consider hiring a professional who is accredited and has trade insurance to carry out risky work at heights.
  • Identify and secure loose objects susceptible to being blow over by higher winds.

ELECTRICAL

  • Make sure appliances used outside are brought inside or protected from rain.
  • Check garden lights for exposed wires and other damage and replace any damaged light fittings.
  • Make sure electrical circuits are not overloaded by too many appliances, extension leads and power points.
  • Clean or replace your air-conditioning unit’s air filters before the start of summer (or every couple of months if you are using it for heating during the winter).
  • Clean debris and leaves from the outside unit of a split system or evaporative system.
  • Have your air-conditioner or cooling system serviced regularly – every year or every two years if the unit does not get used too much. Regular servicing will increase the life of the unit and should avoid breakdowns all together.
Written by Liselotte Geary, RACV Public Affairs, 9790 2717
January 19, 2017