Lack of electricity
Disruptions to electricity supply can result from a number of factors, including: strong winds, ice and heavy snow, and damage to installations. Electricity supplies are usually restored within a short time. However, from time to time more serious power cuts can occur. When there is no electricity you should:
- Check to see if your neighbours have electricity. Electricity may be missing only in your house, which could be caused by a faulty fuse or blown electrical circuits. If your neighbours are also without power, call your local power station. If you have to go outside to investigate, take a torch with you and keep an eye out for broken electrical wires lying on the ground that could electrocute you. When you find them, do not go near them or touch anything that may come into contact with them. Report it immediately.
- Use torches for lighting. Candles and oil lamps are not recommended during a fire emergency.
- Turn off appliances in your home. When most of these – fridges, therms and boilers, fans and pumps – are left on, they can overload the grid, causing power cuts when the power is restored.
- Fridges and freezers should be kept closed as long as possible. Food can be stored for a day or two when the door is closed. Try to eat perishable foods first. If in any doubt, throw them away.
- Use portable power generators with care. They may be used to provide a limited amount of power during power outages. Never run portable appliances in the home or garage, as gas appliances can cause serious fires and suffocation. Generators should be installed according to the instructions of the local power plant. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Call the power plant for further information on the proper use of the equipment.
- If you get your water from a well or reservoir, be prepared to use alternative water sources until power is restored. These reservoirs use electric pumps that will not operate without electricity.
- You should be aware that gas appliances may not function when there is no power, as electricity may be needed to start the ignition.
- Drain pumps, pipes, therms and boilers, sinks, basins, washing machines and dishwashers. Cold water systems can freeze when there is no power. To avoid serious flooding, turn off the valves when the temperature rises. Thermostats and boilers that have been drained to avoid damage caused by possible freezing must also be disconnected. Failure to follow these instructions may result in damage to the heating elements when the electricity is switched on again. Never turn on any water heater unless the tank is full.
- Make a list of life-sustaining devices for family members (ventilators, oxygen equipment and other life-sustaining devices). You should always have an emergency plan that includes alternative power sources for equipment and evacuees.