Prepare for a power outage and load-shedding
Load-shedding and power outages are becoming part of our lives now – read our useful tips to minimise inconvenience.
Source

1. Preparing for a power outage:

  • Ensure that your cell phone is always fully charged when power is available.
  • Ensure that your car always has fuel in the tank since during power outages, petrol stations cannot pump fuel.
  • Ensure that you have adequate cash as auto tellers cannot operate without electricity.
  • Keep temporary lighting, such as candles and electric torches readily available.
  • Keep a torch (with fresh batteries) by your bedside at all times
  • Obtain a small LP gas lamp, as they provide good quality lighting for a large area.
  • Obtain a stand-by bottled LP gas heating ring for essential cooking and to boil water for hot beverages.
  • Get some sterlising liquid or tablets or have a gas stove and pot to hand so you can sterilise your baby's bottles
  • Keep adequate stocks of essential foodstuffs that do not need to be refrigerated.
  • Fill plastic containers with water, leaving some space inside each container for expansion, and place in your freezer or freezer compartment. This frozen water will act like ice bricks to help keep food cold during a power outage. It also helps your fridge to save electricity otherwise.
  • Most medication requiring refrigeration can be kept in a closed fridge for several hours without spoiling. To be sure about this, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

2. Just before scheduled load-shedding:

  • Release automatic electric garage door mechanisms to allow you to gain access to your property during a power outage.
  • Release electric security gates and switch to manual operation to avoid either being locked out or locked into your home.
  • Boil water and keep in hot water flasks for hot drinks for when the power is scheduled to be switched off.
  • Use a thermal cover on tea pots and other pots and pans to keep hot drinks, soup and other hot meals warm.
  • Prepare meals beforehand in readiness for periods when there will be scheduled power cuts.

3. During a power outage:

  • Switch it off! If the power goes off, it is safer to turn off or disconnect any electrical appliances that you were using, since a power surge may occur when the electricity is restored. 
  • It is always useful to keep one light switched 'on' to alert you when the power returns.
  • Keep refrigerator doors closed. This will keep your food colder for longer. A power outage of up to 4 hours should not cause food spoilage, and a freezer should keep frozen food safe for at least a day. It is a good idea to have available alternative snacks that do not need refrigeration.
  • Do not burn refuse, unwanted furniture, copper wire or any other materials to cook or for heat. This emits toxic fumes.

What are not be affected by power outages?

  • Security systems that have battery back-up (some alarms may go off due to the interruption). Check, from time to time, that the battery is still working.
  • Telephones that are not reliant on electricity mains (answering, fax machines and some cordless telephones may however, be affected).
  • Cell phones.

Sources: http://www.capetown.gov.za, PowerAlert

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