You never know when a power cut might happen and how long it will last so make sure you’re prepared and check on older or infirm neighbours and family members.
To ensure you are organised in case of a power cut follow the advice below.
What should I do when I have a power cut?
Check to see if your neighbours have also had a power cut. If they have, it’s likely there is a fault with the electricity network.
If everyone else has power and you don’t, it’s likely to be an issue with your own fuses or trip switches. If there isn’t a problem with your fuses and trip switches, then you could have an internal wiring or appliance fault.
How should I prepare for a power cut?
Keep a torch with new batteries in a place where you can reach it easily.
Keep a battery-powered radio tuned in to your local radio station.
If you use other forms of heating and lighting, such as paraffin heaters and candles don’t leave them unattended.
Switch off appliances and lights, but leave one light on so you know when the power has been restored.
If you have an older or infirm neighbour, check to make sure they are comfortable. If you know of anyone who needs priority service, for example anyone on a ventilator or dialysis machine, please contact the Priority Service on 0800 294 3259.
If a warning has been made in advance that the electricity will be turned off, boil some water and keep it in a thermos flask. Store as much as possible. You can use it to make hot drinks or fill a hot water bottle if it gets too cold.
Don’t open your freezer unless you have to – this helps food stay frozen for longer. When the power comes back on, check the food inside. Food should keep for about eight hours without power. Turn the freezer to its maximum setting for 24 hours before putting it back on a setting that keeps it at minus 18 degrees Celsius.
If the food has started to defrost, you may need to throw it away. Discard any food you would eat when it is frozen such as ice cream, if it has started to defrost. Do not refreeze these foods. If meat, fish or foods contacting them have started to get soft, throw them away too. Watch out for liquid coming out of defrosting meat as this could spread bacteria onto other foods.
Remember, never put yourself in danger and alert the emergency services if a dangerous situation arises.
Where possible, consider making alternative arrangements to stay with family or friends if you are impacted by the power cut.
Councillor Rob Waltham (pictured), cabinet member for Health, Strategic Projects and Regeneration, said: “This is all common sense, however it is important we reiterate to make sure people are prepared. A power cut usually only lasts for a few minutes, but in the event of it lasting a lot longer it’s important that people know what to do. Losing power can make people feel quite vulnerable as we can’t use the everyday things that we are so used to. This feeling can be heightened for older and infirm people, so we would urge you to check on your neighbours and family members making sure they are safe and have everything they need.”
If you are suffering from serious health problems call the NHS Direct Helpline on 111.