5 Items To Have At Home When A Blackout Hits
Blackouts. For young children they can be a bit scary, and for adults they can be highly inconvenient. Nevertheless, they’re an irregular certainty in the home. Sometimes they last a few minutes, sometimes they last a few hours. Occasionally even longer. And as they never happen at a convenient time, they can certainly disrupt your plans.
They can also be financially costly. Just think of all the food in your fridge, and what would happen if the fridge stopped working when the power went out. For elderly people and those with major health concerns, they can potentially be dangerous as well.
Power outages can occur for a number of reasons; a car accident can bring down power lines, causing blackouts to nearby homes. Excessive hot weather can also put strain on the grid when everyone turns on their air conditioners. Natural disasters like floods or bushfires can also wreak havoc. It’s important though to be prepared for when a power outage happens.
To get prepared, here are five essential items to have in your home for when the power does go out.
1. Backup Lighting Source
During a nighttime power outage, you certainly need a backup source of lighting. Having lit candles around the house will definitely provide some illumination; it will certainly help create a mood. However, candles can also be a potential fire hazard.
Your mobile phone torch can also be useful. It will use up the battery, though, and you want to conserve your phone’s battery power when you’re unable to charge it. Modern emergency services often text (SMS) updates regarding natural disasters or emergencies. Instead, a strong and durable battery powered torch is an essential item in any home.
Just make sure to have a spare set, or two, of batteries to ensure you have continued, hassle-free lighting when you need it.
2. Backup Power Source
Sometimes power outages do last longer than expected. In these instances, having backup sources of power can be particularly helpful; AA batteries for small items, backup generators for large appliances and even solar powered chargers for phones (if compatible with your handset).
You’ll find backup generators at almost any hardware store. They are typically powered by petrol or diesel so be sure to have fuel on hand, too. Generators come in a range of sizes and types to accommodate different requirements.
A licensed electrician will be able to recommend the best generator type and size to power the number and types of appliances in your home. They will also be able to set up the backup generator on your property. It will be installed outside of the house to minimise risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and to ensure safe usage.
And as explained by the South Australian Government’s Energy and Environment page, your electrician must issue you a Certificate of Compliance upon completion of any installation. This is to verify that all work has been carried out safely, and the generator is safe for you to use.
3. Emergency Kit
Depending on how the power outage occurred, there’s no telling how long it’ll last, or how it might affect you or others in your home. Having an emergency kit ready for these situations can be useful. Include such items as:
- Battery powered torch
- Spare batteries
- First aid kit – fully stocked with anything essential to the people in your home
- Candles and waterproof items
- Emergency contact numbers and copies of any important documents
- Copies of any home emergency plans – vital for any natural disaster events
- Waterproof bag for any valuable items
If you do use the candles, be sure to extinguish them once you don’t need them, and make sure you don’t light them next to anything that might catch fire. Ensure that everyone in your household knows where the emergency kit is, and that it is accessible to all.
4. Non-Perishable Food Items and Bottled Water
In the event of a blackout longer than four hours, it’s likely that food in your fridge will spoil. If you keep your freezer door closed, you have between 24-48 hours until food goes off.
Meanwhile, some newer homes rely on electricity for their water pumps to deliver running water. This can become a problem in the middle of a blackout. Having bottled water available may also be highly beneficial, whether it’s for hydration, cooking and/or cleaning.
5. Battery Powered Radio
A radio can be particularly useful for receiving information from the media about serious power outages in your area. It’s especially useful during natural disasters or extreme weather events. A little music from the radio can also help to lift spirits, especially if the blackout lasts for an extended period of time. Make sure you have spare batteries or a solar powered charger to keep your radio working.
Bonus: Also helpful…
If you have prior knowledge of a blackout, there are numerous things you can do to be prepared.
Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and ensure that you have important contact phone numbers available. Try to turn off any unessential electrical items. Switch off anything that might be vulnerable to damage in the event of a power surge.
And if you do opt to install a backup power generator on your property to prepare for the next possible power outage, contact a licensed electrician. They can make sure everything is installed correctly, and there are no risks.