There can be few things in life quite as inconvenient as an electric power cut and it always seems to happen at the worst possible time: you’re about to settle down on a Friday night to a Netflix binge, or you’ve just set up your office and are ready to start work.
Whenever it happens, however, it can feel like the natural response is to panic. That never helped anyone though. What you could be doing instead, is taking a deep breath and checking through the list below (which you should definitely save on your phone, just in case).
These are the first things you should be focusing on as soon as the lights go out.
- Check to see is the streetlights outside are out too and if your neighbours are also suffering from a power outage. It might just be your home. If this is the case, first try the circuit breaker to make sure it hasn’t simply short-circuited. If this doesn’t solve the problem then you should call a professional electrician as soon as possible. Trying to sort the problem yourself (unless you a fully qualified) will most likely only make the situation worse).
- Turn off all electrical appliances as if they are still switched on one the power returns it can result in a potentially damaging power surge. This is particularly true of your lighting.
- While you should turn off most of your lights, make sure you remember to leave one on (perhaps a small table lamp) so you’re aware when the power returns.
- If you have elderly neighbours check on them to make sure they are okay.
- Power cuts are more common in the winter months, when it is that much colder. Ensure that you wrap up warm in case the power outage lasts longer than expected.
- Report the power cut to your network operator using 105 to ensure the problem is solved faster.
Here, we’ll focus on how you should be preparing your home for a potential power cut.
- Whilst most modern smartphones are equipped with a torch app, be sure to keep a torch stocked with fresh batteries under the sink or in another safe location.
- Keep a battery-powered radio in the same location so you can be aware of local movements. Often, power cuts coincide with phone networks going down, so whilst your data might save you on some occasions, it won’t always be there for you.
- Keep a cupboard full of warm blankets and flasks for hot drinks.
- Make sure your phone and laptop are always fully charged.
- If you can access the internet, check the website of your electrical supplier to check for local updates.
Most power cuts will not last that long, but if the night presses on and the problem still hasn’t been resolved, you’ll also want to consider the following.
- Check the frozen food in your fridges and freezers. If food defrosts you might not be able to freeze it again. If you have any cool boxes stored away, now might be the best time to use them.
- For electrical products that require more power such as computers and televisions, make sure they are switched off not only at the device itself but at the plug too.
- Your fish or reptiles should be fine for a few hours without electricity. Any longer than that, however, you might need to unplug filters to prevent toxins leaking into the water and cover the tank with a blanket to keep it warm.
- If you spot any downed power lines, steer well clear of them!
In general, it’s always wise to remain calm and collected and to be aware of not only where your fuse box is but how it works.
Power cuts might not be particularly common problems in this day and age, but when they do strike, they can lead to serious problems, particularly in homes with elevators and stairlifts. So it’s always a good idea to know your onions when it comes to your home power.