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Some More Tips For Staying Safe During A Blackout

Some More Tips For Staying Safe During A Blackout

Unfortunately, one of the things people living in a modern country have to deal with are blackouts. They are massively inconvenient, and can, in some cases, be very dangerous; but they will happen and there is very little the average person can do about it. Also, not every blackout is going to be some minor affair that the power company will solve in a couple of hours; some power outages can be major affairs that will potentially last for days. In 2013, a quarter of a million Queenslanders lost power for 10 days; imagine going that long without any power. So, it is important that you know some basic safety tips that will help you stay safe during a power outage. Keep reading for our guide for staying safe during a blackout.

Determine if the power outage is due to a blown fuse

One of the more common issues homeowners might have to deal with are blown fuses. While not always the case, blown fuses can cause your entire house to lose power. It is important to determine whether a blown fuse is the source of the power outage, because if it is, then it can be fixed rather simply. Thankfully, it is easy to check. First, make sure all your appliances are turned off or unplugged. Go to your fuse box and open it; if you want to be extra careful, lay a rubber mat in front of the fuse box (this is not necessary, but it never hurts to be extra safe). Look closely at the fuses in your fuse box (you will probably need a very good quality flashlight to see each fuse clearly). Fuses that are still working properly will be have clear glass; blown fuses will have glass that is a murky black or grey colour. If you find that you have some blown fuses, immediately call a licenced electrician. A trained electrician will be able to fix the issue very easily. Although you will find numerous guides and experts online telling you to fix the blown fuse yourself, that sort of DIY electrical work is illegal in Australia. So be safe and call an expert. If you do not find any blown fuses, then chances are good that it is a neighbourhood wide blackout, in which case there is nothing you can do besides calling the power company and informing them of the blackout.

What to do if it is a serious blackout

Once you have confirmed that the blackout is not just confined to your house, but is neighbourhood wide, then it is time to start taking some precautions. Power outages caused by storms or damage to infrastructure can sometimes last for quite a while.

Bust out an emergency kit if you have one

Some people make emergency kits to help them get through extended power outages. These generally include water, non-perishable food items (canned goods being the most common item), flashlights, etc. Basically, general things that make living through an extended power outage tolerable. While you will not need an emergency kit for 99% of power outages, it is generally a good idea to keep one around just in case a major storm ever does serious damage to the power infrastructure in your area.

What to do about food in the freezer and refrigerator

Whenever there is a blackout, people tend to panic about the food in their fridges and freezers. Given that electricians can deal with most power outages relatively quickly, you usually will not need to worry. But, if the blackout cannot be dealt with by an electrician, then chances are the blackout will be lasting for a couple of hours, as power companies are not known to be extremely fast. The government of Australia recommends the “2-4 hour rule.” Food in the refrigerator is safe for 2 hours with no power. Food in the refrigerator for anywhere between 2 to 4 hours, can be eaten safely. If the food is in the refrigerator for more than 4 hours without power, it needs to be thrown out. When it comes to frozen food, you do need to worry about the food spoiling for a day or two. Always make sure you are not opening your fridge or freezer during a blackout. It may be tempting to check on the food, but opening the fridge door can drastically lower the lifespan of any food in the fridge.

Unplug anything electrical

When the power suddenly jumps back on after being out, there is a chance this could result in a power surge. Also, if a storm caused the power outage, then chances are that storm could also cause a power surge. Power surges can damage sensitive electronics like televisions and computers. Even if you have a surge protector set up, it is better to be safe than sorry. So, go around the house unplugging any electronics that would be at risk of damage if a power surge were to occur.

People who require electricity for medical needs

If you have someone in your house who requires medicine that is refrigerated or relies on medical equipment powered by electricity; then you need to have an emergency generator installed to keep their equipment running until the power comes back online. If you do not have an emergency generator installed, or you think the power outage will go on longer than the generator will last, you need to immediately get in contact with medical professionals and figure out what you can do.

Look for ways to stay updated

If the power outage is serious, then chances are that there will be regular updates given by the government or the power company. You are going to want to regularly monitor the situation with your smartphone, or if that is not an option, call the local power company for updates using your landline. There should also be updates given via radio. Also, if you are relying on your smartphone for updates, do not forget to turn down the brightness and turn off wifi; this helps conserve battery life. You can also buy battery powered phone chargers that will be useful during a blackout.