Power outages may be caused by fallen or damaged power lines following a flood or storm. It is important to be aware of the dangers of fallen and damaged power lines.

​If you need emergency assistance in a flood or storm, call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500.

For a medical, police or fire emergency call triple zero (000).

Report fallen or damaged power lines

If you see damaged or fallen power lines, contact your electricity distributor:

Stay away from fallen power lines

Fallen powerlines can be extremely dangerous. Stay at least eight metres or two car lengths away from any fallen power lines and report them to your electricity distributor.

Food Safety

If refrigeration is unavailable due to a power outage, there is a risk that some foods may become carriers of foodborne illnesses and unsafe to eat.

If you experience a power outage, make note of the time the power failed and keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.

If any food in your refrigerator or freezer does not feel cold, discard it. Never taste suspect food. Consuming unsafe food may cause serious illness. Refer to the NSW Food Authority for further information.

Managing your Medications

Some medicines require storage in a refrigerator (between +2°C and +8°C). Examples of these medicines are vaccines, insulin, thyroxine tablets, immune therapies, some eye drops, some hormone products and some antibiotic mixtures for children.

If electricity has been cut off for an extended period and as a result the quality of refrigerated medicines has been compromised, the medicines concerned should be discarded, unless the medicine is essential to sustain health (e.g., insulin), in which case the medicine should continue to be used until a new supply is available.

Because temperature sensitive medicines deteriorate and lose effectiveness if not refrigerated, they should be replaced with a new supply as soon as possible. For example, insulin that is not refrigerated will have a shorter shelf life than the expiration date shown on the package.

Some medicines, such as insulin, which are normally refrigerated can be kept at room temperature (below 25°C) for a specified number of days while you are using them.  See the Consumer Medicines Information for the product.

As part of your household emergency preparedness planning, check with your pharmacist about emergency storage of refrigerated medicines and have a cool pack and cooler bricks on hand for refrigerated medicines.

Do not freeze medicines.

Medicines that have been contaminated by floodwater will not be safe to take and should not be taken under any circumstances.

If you are concerned about the safety or storage of a particular medicine, contact your pharmacist or doctor or contact Health Direct on 1800 022 222 for guidance.

For further information on storing insulin, refer to the National Diabetes Service Scheme (NDSS) or contact the NDSS helpline on 1300 136 588.​​​​​​​​​​​

Page Updated: Thursday 12 December 2019