A short term power cut is a relatively common and simple emergency scenario to prepare for. It is still important, however, to know how to prepare for a power cut. Power cuts can be caused by a number of reasons. These may include bad weather, maintenance or accidental damage to the power supply. A power cut is different to a long term power outage or grid down scenario. A power cut is shorter in duration, and may only affect a single house or small area. Learning how to prepare for a power cut will help keep you and your family warm, safe and fed during a power cut.
How To Prepare For A Power Cut
Preparing the items in the following list will make a power cut much easier to deal with.
- Know where the consumer unit (the box with the circuit breaker switches) is in your house. A power cut may be related to a circuit breaker tripping, and you might be able to solve it by resetting the circuit breaker.
- Prepare a ‘black out box’. This is a box with equipment that will be useful during a power cut. Keep the box somewhere that it would be easy to find in the dark. The black out box should contain:
- Battery powered radio
- Spare batteries
- Candles & matches (a good back up if the spare batteries run out)
- List of emergency contact details
- Long life food that can be eaten without cooking
- First aid kit
- Battery backups for any electrical medical equipment
- Entertainment (the time can pass very slowly during a power cut, especially for children – a book to read by torchlight, or some games to play might help)
- Buy a battery pack that can charge your mobile phone, and keep it charged so that in a power cut you can still charge your phone.
What To Do During A Power Cut
- Find your black out box so that you have any equipment you might need close to hand. If it is dark, use a torch for moving around the house so that you don’t risk injuring yourself.
- Check the switches in the consumer unit to see if there is a problem with the electrical system inside the house. If you reset a circuit breaker and it trips again, the circuit is probably overloaded. Unplug electrical appliances from the circuit, and reconnect one at a time after resetting the circuit breaker. If you connect an appliance and the circuit breaker trips, the appliance may be faulty.
- Use the battery powered radio to listen for news and weather updates if the power cut has been caused by very bad weather.
- Your central heating may not work if there has been a power cut. Keep warm with additional clothes or blankets.
- Do not open the fridge or freezer. If the power cut only lasts a few hours, the contents of the freezer will stay frozen as long as it isn’t opened. If food in the freezer does defrost during a power cut, do not refreeze it when the power returns.
- Do not leave candles unattended. Unattended candles pose a fire risk, and you don’t want to have to deal with a house fire too.