We all probably have childhood memories of power cuts. It may have been because of a storm, maybe an electrical fault in the village or town, or even because of faulty wiring in the house. We all likely remember experiencing a power cut as a child – and it was an exciting and novel experience.
But as an adult, with your own home, a power cut suddenly becomes something a little more worrying. If you ever experience a power cut, here’s what you can do to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible:
Check to see how widespread the power-cut is
The first thing to check is if it’s just your house, or if there are other houses also without power. If it’s just your house, it’s likely there’s a fault or issue with your fuse box or wiring – so calling an emergency electrician is the best solution. If it’s the entire street (or the entire town!) it’s a much bigger problem, and you’ll probably just have to wait it out.
Your next step if to get in touch with your electricity provider. This is really simple, and you can do so by simply calling ‘105’ for free. 105 is a new nationwide number that puts you through to the local electricity provider / operator. Even if they don’t have a solution or resolution for you, they’ll be able to log the complaint and hopefully start an investigation.
During the autumn or winter, your main priority during a power outage should be keeping the house warm. With no power your radiators and heaters won’t be working, so keeping the house as warm as possible is a top priority. Close your doors and windows, and make any blankets or duvets readily available. Dressing warmly (with layers) is important too – and makes a big difference. If you have a gas hob, you may be able to light these to get heat in the kitchen. And of course, candles do a great job of heating a room too.
If the power cut has happened in the night time, you’ll want to locate some light sources quickly. Most mobile phones have torches – but these can drain the battery, so it’s a good idea to have external torches too. If the power cut happens in the daytime, and you’re not sure how long it will last, use the natural light to find and locate all your key items (like torches for example!) and place them in useful spots throughout the house.
Keep your food safe
Not all foods will last the power cut (especially if it’s a long one). However, you’d be surprised how long a fridge or freezer can stay cool for. Remember to keep frozen meats away from other food (so the juices don’t drip and contaminate other foods as they defrost). Also take this chance to eat your ice cream – it likely won’t last more than 5-6 hours of no power.
Check on your neighbours
Another key thing to do, especially if you have elderly neighbours, is to check they’re OK and they have everything they need. Older people feel the cold much more, so without heating they are more vulnerable. It may be worth inviting them around to your house to share the common heat between you, and to ensure everyone stays safe and well.