You came home from work, you made yourself comfortable at home on your couch. Dinner is on the fire. Suddenly, it’s complete darkness. Your lights go out. Power cut. What to do ? How do you know if only your home is affected or if the whole neighborhood is plunged into darkness? What happens if you and your neighbors are plunged into darkness and the blackout lasts several hours? What are the rules of conduct in this case? Here is what you should do if the situation occurs:
Power outage in your home only
- The first thing to do and it is a necessity: make sure you have a light source. Get yourself a candle, get your hands on a flashlight or activate the flashlight function of your smartphone. Not least to help you find your way around your home and minimize the risk of injury.
- If you find that only your home is dark, try to find the electrical panel and check the fuses.
- If a fuse has blown, try reactivating it. If this is not possible, turn off your electrical devices on one by one. So check which device caused the power outage in your home.
- Be sure to contact an electrician to check your electrical appliances and wiring. You may also need to replace the fuses.
Power outage in your area
- First, don’t panic. The current will come back, nothing will happen to you.
- Eliminate sources of danger and minimize the risk of injury: turn off all appliances that could become a source of danger once power is restored: your stove or iron, for example.
- Unplug electrical appliances that you don’t absolutely need. When power is flowing again, it protects your network and there is no risk of overloading. Leave a lamp or light on so you know immediately when power is restored.
- Conserve your batteries and use battery-powered devices sparingly. A battery-operated radio, for example, could be useful if you want to listen to news about power outages.
- Avoid car trips that are not absolutely necessary, as traffic lights may be turned off, increasing your risk of an accident.
Power outage over time
If the power outage lasts a few hours, check your perishable foods. A few hours are usually not a problem, even for sensitive foods such as meat, fish, sausages, etc. In any case, avoid opening the refrigerator door unnecessarily. The higher your fridge’s energy efficiency rating and the newer the fridge, the longer the food will last. If expensive foods are thawed or spoiled, check with your home insurance company to see if they cover the damage. Check pendulums that work with power supplies and readjust them. Do you have a gas heater that no longer works? Don’t touch it. Do not operate the device yourself! It is best to contact your plumber. Also, do not attempt to heat with a gas oven or stove, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
How do you prepare for an extended power outage?
- In order to be able to enlighten you when the time comes, stock up on candles, matches and lighters.
- Also stock up on charged batteries to use as flashlights and radios.
- Try to keep your phone and laptop charged with a portable battery or charger. This kind of accessory can also be useful in everyday life when you don’t have to deal with a power cut.
- Build up a small reserve of food, mainly canned or not requiring preparation with an electrical appliance.
- Use a gas camping stove to keep food warm.
- Keep your outdoor walkways clear to minimize the risk of falling after dark.
- Keep the emergency telephone numbers in your mobile phone or put them in a place that you have precisely identified.
- Find out about electric generators and see if you can get them.