You’re doing the things you normally do when—zap—light goes out. It’s a power cut, a loss of electrical power to your particular area. Power can soon return in a few minutes, though sometimes it can be gone for hours, days, even weeks when major electrical wires are affected.
Remember these general guidelines that will help you during and after power interruptions in your area:
During the Power Cut
- Cease all activities that might endanger you or others.
- If you have babies or small children, keep them with you at all times.
- Investigate the source of the power cut. Check if your neighbors have power or not. A cursory view can give you an idea if the entire neighborhood is also affected.
- Notify your electric supply company. Usually they will tell you the reason for the outage and the estimated time power will be back. If they themselves are not aware of an outage, at least you have informed them so they can look into the matter. Be sure to call them again for updates.
- Use flashlights or emergency lights, ideally one for each family member, as candles can cause fire. If the power cut is caused by a storm, it might take a while for electricity to return, so just use one flashlight, if possible, and have your other family members conserve their batteries.
- Turn off all appliances and electronic devices to protect them from power surge when electricity returns. (It’s wise to invest in a surge protector especially if you live in areas prone to thunderstorms.)
- Turn off all lights, but leave one indoor light switched on to prompt you when power is back.
- Minimize opening refrigerators and freezers to keep cool air locked in, especially when you are not sure when power will return.
After the Power Cut
- Allow a few minutes for the electrical system to stabilize before reconnecting appliances and electronic devices. Do not plug them all at once, but in ten- to fifteen-minute intervals.
- If the outage was caused by a storm, check your outdoor electrical wires and cables for any damage or any tree branches that might fall on your power lines. Treat every downed power line as a live wire—stay away from it. If a wire has been torn from your house, contact your electrical contractor or a licensed electrician in your area.
- Check your alarm clocks if the time is still accurate. Reset if needed.
- Charge all rechargeable items, like flashlights, emergency lights, etc., so they can be ready to use again during another power cut or for other emergency situations.
- Sit down with your family to discuss how you handled the power cut and if there are areas of improvement, then work out a solid plan that will get you through an outage even more efficiently next time. Plan for future power outages and other emergencies, especially if a family member is dependent on medical equipment that runs on electricity.
- Prepare emergency kits, preferably one for each family member.
Remember, during a power cut, the wisest thing to remember is “safety first.” It is also wise to equip yourselves with adequate knowledge and supplies for any emergency situation.