During the aftermath of Storm Arwen, many places in the UK were forced to live without power for almost two weeks. Even after the power was restored, many were forced to live with temporary generators that weren’t reliable and caused further power outages. As the festive season is approaching, it is essential that homes in the UK know how to cope without power, should disaster strike on the big day.
Check in with your neighbours
First things first, check in with your neighbours to see if they have also been affected by a power outage. If yours has but theirs hasn’t, chances are there’s a problem with the fuses or a trip switch in your home. You never know, they might let you use their oven to finish off your turkey. Check in on your elderly neighbours to make sure they are prepared for a possible power cut, taking any supplies and extra blankets that they might need.
If their power has also gone out, don’t assume that your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) already knows. Be sure to call them and alert them to the outage, so you get power back as soon as possible. It is also important to to mention, that if you require electricity for medical equipment, make sure you enrol onto your local DNO’s Priority Services Register, to ensure you’re assisted first during a power cut.
This should go without saying, and if you are in a rural area that is frequently hit by power cuts during the winter you are almost certainly ready, but preparation is key to managing through a power cut. If you are not used to power outages however, there are a few things you can do in advance to prepare yourself. Be sure to have multiple torches and spare batteries – now is not the time to rely on your mobile phone’s torch. With mobile phones in mind, be sure to keep at least one fully charged so you can make calls in the event of an emergency. It is worth having a few portable chargers at the ready too, just in case.
During a power outage
In the event you actually lose power, you need to ensure you turn all of your appliances off at the wall, including irons, ovens, electric fires and fryers, as they could pose a hazard if the power comes back on and you aren’t there. Keep your fridge and freezer doors closed and throw a blanket over them. They will stay cold for hours, so your Christmas dinner won’t be totally ruined.
Be sure to dress warmly, putting on several layers of clothing including a hat to keep the heat in, trying to stay active to aid your circulation. If you have Solar PV installed, your panels should operate automatically without an electricity supply. Be sure to switch off your system and check with your operator, or refer to your manufacturer guidelines. If you haven’t yet got this in place, look for a local solar PV installer.
Be sure to follow these tips to ensure you stay safe this Christmas, in the event of a power cut.