By Sukhi Bal
Last Modified: 23 June 2016
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Preparing for a Power Cut

It's Summer in the UK, we can expect storms, that's evident year after year except that 1 year we had a 'proper Summer'.

There's a weather warning with more floods expected.

Added to the obvious travel disruption caused by the high winds, thunder, lightning you may also suffer from a power cut or mains failure. It may not last any long length of time but it's wise to think about what you would do when it occurs. You might be tucked up in bed and so the loss of power will cause minimal upheaval. You might not be in bed and in some respects it's better to know that there's been a power outage. In any case preparing will ease the inconvenience a little as you will feel in control: that you've put a few measures in place, and done what you can.

Minimise the disruption, stay in a building where possible and follow the following guidelines.

LPO - Light Producing Objects

Pretend it's going to be darkest Winter when you have a power cut and keep a flashlight, torch, candles, matches handy and work out how to use the mobile phone's torch app.

1st Aid Kit (Emergency Kit)

Have access to standard set of items in a 1st aid kit plus the prescribed medications (or equipment) for your household. 

E.g. plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, antibiotics, scissors, tape, paracetamol and ibroprufen. You know your household best to cater to them. If you have medical equipment that needs to operate in the event of a power cut then speak to the corresponding Medical Centre/Agency to ensure you will be prepared. Make sure everyone in your household knows where to find these items.

Useful phone numbers

You need to contact your District Network Operator  (DNO) to report you have no power so ensure you keep the details within easy access. Guidelines on how to find your DNO can be found here.

Mobile Phones

Keep mobile phones charged preferably with access to a car-charger for back up.

Car / vehicle

Fill your car with fuel you never know what you may need to do if the Power Cut lasts a while.

Food & water

This point comes lower down in priority only because it's possible for humans to survive without food for a period. However do ensure you have food in the house that doesn't rely on the fridge/freezer/electric-oven/microwave before you can eat it. We are looking at tins and a tin opener in the main as the kettle won't work for a pot-noodle. Gas is still likely to work if you have a gas hob! If you think water supply might become effected then buy some bottled water.

If you have space then fill bottles up with tap water and put them in the freezer- a power cut will defrost it and let you drink it. The bottles will keep the cooler padding, while frozen, around your food. However, keep fridge/freezer doors closed as much as possible to prolong the cooler temp in there during the power loss period. If you have time get the dishes washed by the dishwasher or hand-wash them - it's one less thing to have lying around when you're in the dark and it's Summer so flies are rife.

Unplug

Lightning can cause electric power surges, protect your equipment if you're expecting a thunderstorm. If it doesn't need to be on then unplug it. Walk through your house and notice everything you have on Standby while it's not operating and think about the expensive equipment you hold dear.

Garden + Pets

Think about how you will shelter your pet if they are mainly outdoors and you're expecting a storm. Also, secure your garden equipment. I remember visiting a dog breeder and due to a storm her garden parasol had flown out of the back garden to the roadside to say 'hello' to my car- luckily no damage.

Social skills

You will need to consider what you and any one in your household will do when the ipads & laptop charge runs out. If there is no charged electronics you may need to have a deck of cards with a torch or even talk to one another.

With any luck the storm comes and goes.