Essentials: What to do during a power outage

The power supply in Australia is generally considered to be very reliable, and power outages are usually over almost as soon as they begin.

However, if a natural disaster such as severe flooding or a bushfire has occurred, a power failure can last a lot longer, from a few days to weeks.

During a power outage you will naturally be without the use of all electrical appliances, and if you have an electric hot water heater you’ll be without hot water too. If you only have a mobile, you will also be without a phone service once your battery runs out.

If you don’t have a battery-powered radio and the power outage is prolonged, you may have no way of accessing updates on the return of your power supply or news broadcasts. All of this means you and your family could be facing significant challenges.

Our tips on what to do during a power outage will help you reduce the impact of a power failure and gain a measure of control in a difficult situation.

What to do during a power outage

  • Look at your neighbours’ homes to check if their lights are also out.

If the problem is limited to your home, check your main electrical panel to be sure your circuit breakers or fuses aren’t causing the problem.

If they’re not the problem, check for damage to the electricity service wires connected to your home. If they’re damaged stay well clear and notify your electricity provider.

  • If the power outage appears to be widespread, switch off all your appliances and electronic equipment to prevent damage from a potential power surge. Also, the power can be restored more easily without a heavy load on the electrical system.
  • Turn off all lights, except one, so you know when the power has been restored.
  • A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if it is left unopened, so don’t open your fridge or freezer doors unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t be tempted to bring outdoor barbeques or home generators inside or place them near an open window. They produce potentially deadly carbon monoxide fumes, which you can’t smell or see.
  • Place lit candles in proper candleholders. Keep them out of reach of children and blow them out before going to bed.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio on hand for information on the power outage, especially if the circumstances are severe and there’s a possibility you may need to be evacuated.
  • If you’re using a portable generator during power outages, do not plug it directly into your home’s electrical system unless an electrician has installed the correct switchover facilities.

If you live in Melbourne and you have a prolonged power failure that is affecting only your house, call the experienced electricians at Electricians Today. One of our accredited team members will arrive quickly and analyse and repair any electrical issue you’re experiencing.

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