Undoubtedly, severe weather will be descending on Queensland in the coming weeks and Energex have crews ready on the ground and now in the air thanks to the company’s new highly advanced drone fleet.

While Energex has been using drones for several purposes for the past few years, the technology has advanced significantly in recent times and this summer the drones will allow crews to locate damage undetectable with the naked eye through thermal imaging cameras to installing lifesaving markers on powerlines and help keep people safe during flooding.

Energex Technology Manager Rob Ibbs said the latest drone fleet is helping the organisation prepare the power network for summer and will help crews undertake tasks much safer and quicker than ever.

“For a number of years we’ve been using drones to investigate damage in hard to reach sections of the power network after storms, and helping to string powerlines between power poles,” Mr Ibbs said.

“This week we will have specially equipped drones installing ‘rotamarkers’ along flood-prone waterways to make powerlines more visible for emergency service workers such as the State Emergency Service volunteers who use the waterways to ferry stranded people to safety.

“We’ll also be trialling drones equipped with state-of-the-art thermal imaging cameras that provide our crews images showing damage to sections of the power network that have traditionally been difficult to detect from the ground or though the naked eye.

“Together these new drones are helping us prepare for the upcoming severe weather in a way we’ve never been able to before and allowing us to do it much faster and safer than ever.”

Mr Ibbs said while Energex’s drone fleet is now an integral part of preparing for summer, the electricity distributor is undertaking all its traditional pre-storm season activities to ensure the network is as resilient as possible.

“Over the cooler months our crews have been extremely busy upgrading and maintaining the state’s power network to ensure it is in optimum condition for when the severe weather season commences,” he said.

“Where required we have been replacing powerlines, uprating transformers and testing our network control systems so when the inevitable happens and storms hit, our crews will be ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

Mr Ibbs also said the coming weeks were a good time for Queenslanders to get their family and properties ready for summer.

“There are some very simple steps people can take to prepare for summer storms and a quick tidy up around the yard can save a lot of angst once wild weather hits,” he said.

“During a storm, items such as outdoor furniture, toys and fallen branches can become lethal missiles which could seriously injure a family member or damage your property.

“These projectiles can also become caught in powerlines, causing outages or bringing powerlines down, so start your preparations by taking a walk around your property and securing any loose items.

“Next trim any overgrown or loose tree branches, but don’t cut any trees near powerlines. If you’re concerned about tree branches being too close to powerlines, contact your local tree contractor or call Energex.

“Finally, move inside the home and check that you have a storm kit with items such as a torch, battery powered radio, portable power bank to charge mobile phones, a first aid kit and fresh batteries in an easily accessible place.  Make sure the whole family knows where the kit is located.

“This will give everyone the best chance of handling whatever the weather throws at us this coming summer.”

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