Table Of Contents

Preparing For Power Outages

In the instance of prolonged power outages, the entire community and economy may suffer. A power outage occurs when the electricity is suddenly cut off. The following are possible outcomes of a power outage:

  • Suppress the flow of information and the movement of goods.
  • Close everything from convenience stores to gas stations to banks and those who do not have electric generators.
  • Food spoilage and water contamination can occur as a result.
  • Prevent the usage of medical equipment.

The first step in regaining your power is to notify the utility company that serves your area. Check their website or app for information on outages. Storms cause most power outages because trees can fall on power lines and disrupt the supply. Other weather-related events, such as lightning, floods, heatwaves, and bushfires, can also result in power outages.

Vehicle collisions, animal intrusions, and fallen power lines all have the potential to make the power go down. Prepare for power outages by keeping a flashlight, phone, and radio on hand and fully charged. If your water pump is powered using electricity, make sure you have a backup freshwater supply or a non-electric pump.

Turn off and unplug all electrical appliances at the power outlet in the event of a power outage. In the event of a power surge, this will help to keep your equipment in good working order. The wires and poles that supply power to your home are typically the responsibility of your local electricity supply company, which owns and maintains them.

Power Outage Tips

  • Close all refrigerators and freezers.
  • Use a generator, but only outside and away from windows.
  • Don't try to heat your house with a gas range or oven.
  • To avoid electrical surges, disconnect all appliances and electronics.
  • Medicines and medical devices that require power should be stored safely in case of power outages.
  • Check with your local government to see if any heating and cooling facilities are open in your area.

Ways To Stay Safe During Power Outages

If the temperature is dangerously high or low, seek refuge in a public building with electricity.

Prepare yourself for a power failure

Make a list of all the electrically-powered items you use regularly. Ensure you have enough batteries and other power sources on hand if the electricity goes out, like a power bank or portable charger. Make sure everyone in the house has a flashlight. Determine whether or not your home phone will function in the event of a power outage and how long the battery backup will last.

Make a plan for your healthcare

Your healthcare provider should discuss energy plans for medical devices and refrigerated medicines. Make sure you know how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures, and get specific advice for any medicines that are critical to your survival.

Keeping food in the house

Ensure you have enough non-perishable food items and water on hand. Refrigerators and freezers should always be kept closed. About four hours is the maximum amount of time food can be kept cool in the fridge. For nearly 48 hours, a fully-loaded freezer will maintain its temperature.

However, if ice is required, use coolers. Use a thermometer to gauge the current internal temperature. You should throw food out if the temperature is above 4 degrees Celsius.

Using appliances in a power failure

You or an expert should install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on each floor of your home. You can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. If you plan to use generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills, they should be outside, at least 20 feet or six metres away from any windows.

Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven. If possible, appliances, equipment, and electronics should be turned off or disconnected when not in use as the power may come back, but there could be damaging surges or spikes.

Don't keep medications that need to be refrigerated

Don't keep medications that need to be refrigerated for more than a day unless the drug's label states otherwise. For a fresh supply, speak with your physician or pharmacist right away.

Avoid power lines

Keep at least 35 feet or 10.5 metres away from downed power lines and anything they touch.

Take care not to get electrocuted in flood zones

You should not go into flooded areas, but you should not use any electrical equipment or electronics that may have been submerged. The electrical system should be checked by someone who is qualified in this field.

Ensure food safety

When you're not sure, throw it away. Food that is below 4 degrees Celsius or warmer, especially dairy and meat, should be thrown away and should not be eaten. Ask your doctor if you can use refrigerated medicines.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Keep generators, camp stoves, and charcoal grills outside only in well-ventilated areas that are at least six metres away from windows.

Electrical safety and efficiency

For electrical safety and efficiency, electricity must be delivered to your home or business at a certain level. These levels are called Guaranteed Service Levels (GSLs).

In Anticipation Of A Potential Interruption

Preparation is critical, both before and after a power outage:

  • You should unplug or switch off appliances at the wall, including garage doors and alarms - leave a light on so that you know when the power is restored.
  • Notify your alarm company of the interruption to ensure that the alarms do not fail when the power is cut off.
  • You should turn off the air conditioning and the lifts' three-phase motors and pumps.
  • There is no need to turn off or adjust any of your solar power systems before or during the power outage period.
  • Make a note of the time you lost power so that you can determine whether or not the food in your fridge is safe to eat when you get power back on.
  • Get a bushfire safety plan for your home.
  • Make sure that your mobile phone is fully charged and purchase a power bank that is suitable for your mobile phone.

Preparation For Power Outage

Create a support group

People who can help you stay at home or leave during an extended power outage should be on your list. A paper copy of your contact list is a good thing to have.

Keep in touch and be alert

Sign up for alert systems and apps that send texts. Have radios and phones that work without electricity at home and chargers and batteries for your cell phones and computers.

Stock up on food and water

Ensure you have enough non-perishable food and water to last for at least two weeks. Plan to use coolers and ice to keep food fresh for longer, and keep a thermometer in your fridge, freezer, or cooler to check on the food's temperature.

Know and plan for your own medical needs

Take a look at your electrical needs. If you don't have power, think about both backup and non-power options for everything from lighting to communication to medical devices and refrigerated medicine to cooking to garage doors, locks, and elevators. You should discuss with your doctor or medical equipment provider about how to meet your medical needs.

Prepare a pet emergency kit for your pets

Take time to create a pet emergency kit, just in case.

Plan how to heat or cool your home

Sealing around windows is one way to keep your home warm. Make plans to go somewhere with air conditioning or heat if the weather is very hot or cold. Always stay inside and keep your generator outside. Do not use an outdoor stove or heater in your house.

Installing alarms and detectors

You or a specialist should put in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. There should be smoke alarms with battery backup on every floor, inside and outside of the places where people sleep. Test each detector every month. You must have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector on each floor of your home.

Plan to protect against surges

Ensure that you have the most up-to-date surge protectors for your home electronics.

Decide how to stay or go

Plan how and when you will get out of the house safely to keep things like power-dependent medical devices running. Keep the gas tank in your car at least half full.

A Must Do During Power Outage

Monitor alerts

Monitor the alerts and check local weather reports by phone, TV, or radio. They might come to your door and tell you about a planned outage. Local alerts and warning systems may be able to send a text or phone call to your phone to tell you about things that might happen near where you live.

Contact your friends and family

Tell people in your network that you're fine, check to see if they're okay, and let each other know if you need help.

When in doubt, throw it out

Keep food cold. Make sure you eat your food that is fresh and can be eaten quickly first. Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to keep them cool. Frozen food can stay at its ideal temperature for about 48 hours if the door remains closed.

If it is half-full, it can stay there for 24 hours. If you need to, use coolers with ice. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the food in your fridge and freezer. Throw away food that has been above 4 degrees Celsius for more than a few hours.

Prevent power surges and fire hazards

You don't want to run out of power or damage your electronics when you unplug your appliances. Using candles isn't the best idea. Turn off the utilities only if you think there's been damage or if the local government tells you to. When you turn on your gas, you need to have it done by someone who knows how. If any circuit breakers have been tripped, get an electrician to check them out before you turn them on.

Keep carbon monoxide poisoning at bay

Make sure you don't use a gas stove to heat your home and don't use outdoor stoves to heat or cook inside your home. You should keep your power source outside in a well-ventilated area, away from windows.

Decide whether you need to stay or leave

If your home is too hot or too cold, or if you have medical equipment that requires electricity, you should get out of there. Communities often have places where people can warm or cool down and charge their phones.

After The Power Comes Back

  • You should turn the power off before you go into a wet basement.
  • Flooded electrical outlets switch boxes, and fuse-breaker panels should not be used until they have been checked and cleaned by an electrician qualified to do so.
  • Ensure that the furnace's flue is back in place, and turn off the fuel to the standby heating unit.
  • Turn on the main electric switch.
  • Give the electricity system time to work itself out before reconnecting tools and appliances. Turn the thermostats on the heating system up first, then reconnect the fridge and freezer a few minutes later. During this time, disconnect all other tools and appliances.
  • The drain valve in the basement should be closed.
  • Turn on the water. Allow air to come out of the upper taps first, then close the lower valves and taps.
  • Fill the hot water heater before you turn on the power.
  • Keep an eye out for food that has gone bad in your refrigerators, freezers, and cupboards. If the freezer door isn't open, food should stay frozen for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how cold it is outside. After two days, when food starts to defrost, it should be cooked, composted, or thrown away.
  • If you want to be safe, keep a bag of ice cubes in the freezer at all times. The food has likely gone bad if you return home after being away for a long time. Throw it away if you're not sure.
  • Make sure your clocks, automatic timers, and alarms are set.
  • Make sure your emergency kit has enough supplies when you need them again.

Make Sure You Don't Take Chances

A blackout is a double threat. You're more likely to get hurt in a blackout, and you're less likely to get quick, thorough emergency care. You might fall down the stairs in the dark or have a bad chainsaw accident when you clean up after a storm. If you need help, you might find that emergency rooms are full or ambulances are slowed down by dead traffic lights or trees that have fallen on the road.

Even more than at other times, think about what you want to do before acting during a blackout. With that said, why not call a qualified electrician to come and assess or repair whatever may be causing the issue before you decide to take measures into your own hands. They are trained and have the knowledge necessary to find and fix your problem.