Life Support Customers - Important Information
If you rely on a life support system, there is some important information you need to know.
- We are providing you with this practical advice and an emergency telephone contact number in the event that you experience a power interruption or failure.
- AusNet Services cannot guarantee a continuous power supply, because unplanned interruptions do happen for reasons beyond our control.
- Likewise, on occasions we may need to interrupt your power supply to perform necessary maintenance, repairs and upgrades to our network.
- If there is a power interruption, your doctor or medical adviser should have explained what to do if your life support machine stops working.
- If you have an emergency and you need to talk to us, contact AusNet Services your previously advised Life Support number or on 13 17 99 (available 24 hours, 7 days).
- If you are no longer a life support customer, please update your electricity retailer.
A guide for customers using a life support machine
Your doctor or medical adviser should have already explained what action to take should your life support machine stop working. You should always follow their advice first. The information can be used as a gude to help you identify if a problem originates with the power supply or your life support machine.
Electricity and your life support equipment
AusNet Services needs to be advised by your electricity retailer that someone at your premises requires the use of a life support machine. Please contact us if you have any queries regarding this process.
Registering as a Life Support customer does not guarantee you a continuous power supply – unplanned power interruptions occur from time to time for reasons outside our reasonable control, and occasionally your power supply may need to be interrupted for local maintenance or upgrade works. You will be notified by letter at least four days prior to any planned interruption. You will also receive a phone call to ensure you are aware of our plans and are making preparations for the interruption. Please make sure we have your current contact phone number.
Your doctor or medical adviser should have already explained what action to take should your life support machine stop working. Naturally you should follow their advice first. If for some reason your hospital or doctor has not provided you with this advice or their information is in any way unclear, please contact them immediately.
In the event your life support machine unexpectedly stops working, this step-by-step guide will help you to determine if the problem originates within our electricity distribution system or within the life support equipment itself.
If your life support machine stops working, the problem could lie in any of the following:
- The life support equipment itself
- The power circuits within your home, or
- The power supply to your neighbourhood.
While your life support machine is operating normally
The following three simple steps will help you to determine where a potential problem lies, and should be undertaken while your life support machine is operating normally.
Step 1: plug in to the power supply
The way in which you connect your life support machine to the power supply will allow you to quickly identify why it has stopped working.
- Plug your life support machine into the first outlet of a double power point.
- Plug an appliance such as a lamp into the second outlet. Should your life support machine stop working, this appliance will act as a “tester” to quickly show you if there is power being supplied to that power point.
Step 2: access an alternative power circuit
All houses have a number of separate power circuits that supply power to different parts of your home. These circuits may be labelled in your fuse box or circuit breaker box. It is possible to have power supply fail in one circuit, yet still be supplied to another.
- Locate a power point on an alternative power circuit to your life support machine and plug an extension cord into it.
- Connect a plug board to this extension cord and place it close to your life support machine.
- Connect another household appliance to the plug board. Now you can easily see if the alternative power circuit is still operating, should your life support machine suddenly stop working.
If you are able to move about while using your life support equipment, you may be able to dispense with the extension cord and plug board and plug into another circuit by moving to a different area in your home.
Step 3: establish contact with a neighbour
Make contact with a neighbour and have their phone number handy. You can then quickly call and determine if a power failure is localised to your house, or is affecting others in the neighbourhood. Remember that telephones that rely on electricity will not work during a power outage.
If your life support machine stops unexpectedly
The following steps will allow you to determine the cause of a failure in your life support machine. This information will also help us to respond to your needs.
Step 1: check your test appliance
- Check the test appliance you have plugged into the same power point as your life support machine. If the test appliance is still functioning, then your life support equipment may be faulty.
- Plug your life support machine into the tester’s power point. If it will not start then your life support equipment may be faulty.
In both cases, you should refer to the plan you have developed with your medical adviser.
If the test appliance is not functioning, proceed to step 2.
Step 2: check your alternative circuit
- Check if the appliance plugged into your alternative circuit is still working. If it is, plug your life support machine into the alternative power circuit and turn it on.
- If it works, it is likely that a fuse has blown or a circuit breaker has tripped in the original circuit – call a Registered Electrical Contractor (electrician) for assistance.
- If your life support machine still does not work, there is most likely a fault within the life support equipment itself – again, you should refer to the plan you have developed with your medical adviser.
- If you have a safety switch installed, ensure that it is in the “ON” position.
If both circuits are not working, and you’ve checked your safety switch (if you have one), it is likely that there is an interruption to your power supply and you should proceed to step 3.
Step 3: contact AusNet Services
You should now assume that the power will be off for some time.
- Contact the neighbour you have arranged as an emergency contact to determine if they still have power.
- Contact AusNet Services on 13 17 99 and advise: