Power outages are usually far from our daily thoughts. If you’re involved in a business that depends on electricity, it’s likely that you have a contingency plan for the office. Meanwhile, you may have completely forgotten to give your family the benefit of preparation and planning that can save lives and protect their most valuable belongings.
While we go about our lives assuming electricity is 100% reliable, the companies that supply our power are constantly repairing faults. Debris, storms, traffic accidents, fires and malicious damage can suddenly cast a suburb into pitch black chaos. At any given time, there are minor outages happening across the state. A power outage in your suburb is likely to happen, but you’ll seldom know when. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of top tips that you can apply in chronological order, beginning with preparation.
Be Ready For The Next Power Outage
#1. Don’t Fry Your Laptop – Always Use Surge Protectors
Don’t let your most expensive devices take the strain of a sudden burst of electricity. Some surges are simply too powerful for any device to handle. Surge protectors are like a bullet-proof vest for your electronic devices. Even in the case of the most powerful burst of electricity, a properly functioning surge protector will sacrifice itself to keep your favourite gadgets in A1 condition. Twin Electrics & Plumbing can help choose and install the latest surge protectors.
#2. Serious Storm? Power Down!
Sure, it seems extreme to pull out every plug, but with so many devices being wireless, it’s not as disruptive as it was a decade ago. There’s no point complaining about it ruining your night when most of your favourite entertainment can still be enjoyed without power. Surge protectors may act as an important defender, but an extreme electrical storm carries the risk of lightning. Every connected electrical wire or device can act as a conductor. If there’s any risk of extreme weather, trust the experts when they recommend powering down.
#3. Water + Electricity = Tragedy
Here at Twin Electrics & Plumbing, we constantly remind Victorians of the immediate and severe risk of electrical wires exposed to water. Aussies tend to build vertically due to our experiences with flooding but there are plenty of homes with basements and cellars. Anything below ground level is susceptible to flooding. However minor it seems, it only takes a small puddle to create a tragedy. Anyone with subterranean rooms needs to have a way of pumping out the water fast. A sump pump powered by a generator can extract water quickly.
#4. Invest In A Generator
If you absolutely must have uninterrupted power, a small generator is the answer. They should always be used outside rather than enclosed spaces, but they’re tough enough to handle the elements. It may seem like a luxury for a minor outage but there’s no telling how long it will take for damaged lines to be repaired. If power outages affect medical equipment or the refrigeration of medicines, you need to get advice from a medical practitioner. That advice may include investing in an alternative power supply.
#5. Darkness Is Dangerous – Always Know Where Your Flashlights Are
We’re keeping flashlights separate from the survival kit because let’s face it, you may never find the survival kit without the flashlight. As a senior member of the family, the onus is going to be on you to shed some light on the situation. Have a small LED flashlight where you put your keys or in a location where you’re reminded of it. You can then have a range of LED flashlights and lamps in one obvious location. It’s also advisable for every member of the household to keep a small LED flashlight in their room.
#6. Prepare A Survival Kit
An electrical outage survival kit is similar to any standard zombie apocalypse survival kit except you probably won’t need a crossbow or samurai sword. You’ll need some warm practical clothing, non-perishable foods, back-up flashlights, batteries and a waterproof outer layer (e.g. poncho). You might think it seems like a lot of effort (and storage) just to survive a half-hour outage. But imagine what a genius, champion and hero you’ll become when that little outage stretches into a marathon.
#7. Food Preservation – The Fridge-Freezer Shuffle
When the temperature of perishable goods rises above 40 degrees, you may as well throw them in the bin. Let’s face it, food isn’t cheap in Australia, and Murphy’s Law suggests the most likely time for an outage is after you’ve spent a hundred bucks at the supermarket. Worse than wasting groceries is eating rotten food. It could potentially be more dangerous that any electrical risk. While it doesn’t take long for a fridge to lose its cool, a freezer can hold its temperature for up 48 hours. Try swiftly transitioning perishable items to the freezer, making sure doors aren’t left open for too long. It could buy you time and help you avoid buying the same food again tomorrow.
#8. Stay Informed With Real Time Maps
Power outages aren’t dirty secrets energy companies hide. In a connected world where people demand instant answers, most power companies are completely transparent. You can access real time interactive maps which will highlight outages and describe the severity of the damage. You can also get estimated times and important safety information. Knowing which company supplies your energy is a good starting point. Find out how they alert customers, what channels they use, and their recommended safeguards.
#9. Bored Games?
While we may have created a less extreme survival kit than the one you’ll be using for the zombie apocalypse, the outage kit can be more fun. You may not instantly get a positive response when you reveal a classic board game, but attitudes may change as devices run out of power. If you’ve followed our tips, you should be safe enough to simply wait it out. What better way to enjoy some unexpected family time than forcing the kids into Monopoly bankruptcy?
The concept of evacuation is alien to most people, but anyone who has ever been forced to leave their home will tell you it’s a much less frightening experience when you’re well informed. The majority of homeowners are dangerously unprepared and that leads to panic. Emergency services teams lose so much time on unnecessary communications, and it can be avoided if homeowners understand when and where to go during an evacuation. Of course, it’s likely you’ll be ordered to evacuate just before you win that game of Monopoly.
Be Ready For The Next Power Outage
Whether it’s due to a rosy outlook, busy lifestyle or tight budget, we tend to deprioritise preparations for power outages. After all, it seems like a rare occurrence. But tell that to the 18,000 Australians who were evacuated due to flooding during March.
During our lifetimes, few of us will avoid the discomfort of long electrical outages. Start with personal safety. Then take the necessary precautions to protect your home and valuables. Finally, make outages less frightening for kids by ensuring they’re warm, well fed, well-lit and entertained.
As always, check our safety guides for all the latest advice, checklists and news. And if you’re eager to safeguard your property and devices with surge protectors, sumps, generators and improvements to wiring, call Twin Electrics & Plumbing for a free quote.