Power Outage Survival Guide
Whether it's rolling outages for load shedding or power outages caused by storms, we put together a Survival Guide to get you through any power outage.
It appears that power outages are becoming the norm for South Africans. Whether it's rolling outages for load shedding, outages caused by failing sub-stations, or power outages caused by storms, you are bound to be the victim of a power outage at one time or another. Let's be honest and face the facts - this is not a problem that is going to go away overnight, in fact, it could even get worse.
I have personally experienced more than a few power outages with the recent storms, and it has made me realise that I need to sort out what I need to be better prepared for power outages, whether for an hour or more. Here's a list of essentials you can gather to create a survival kit to get you through a power outage.
Nowadays it has become the norm for many South African homes to have a back-up generator. These have proven to be a lifesaver when the lights go out for extended periods. DO build or buy a housing for your generator, so that you can use it when the lights go out in a storm.
You will find several articles on Home-Dzine that touches on the topic of using a generator or inverter:
LP Gas Appliances
There's nothing more frustrating than starting to cook for the family when the power goes out. You're halfway through cooking the evening meal when everything goes black!
Many homeowners have taken the initiative to plan a kitchen that incorporates gas appliances, even if it's just a 2-plate gas hob fitted next to the electrical hob. When the lights go out you don't have to worry about being inconvenienced when cooking the evening meal, simply light up the gas hob. See our article for using LP gas as a convenient standby for power outages.
During the winter months an LP gas heater will keep the house warm when the power goes out, and you can buy gas canisters and changeable fittings for heating, lighting and cooking - all with one gas cylinder.
Essential Survival Gear
When the lights go out you definitely need to have a couple of torches (fitted with fresh batteries) stashed somewhere easily accessible to provide light. Put these in a safe place where you will know where to find them in an emergency.
Today's LED lighting, including torches, features long-life power, rechargeable units, and brightness that has never before been experienced. Small, compact flashlights will give you all the lighting you will need, with the larger, more sophisticated units providing a high level of lighting that almost simulates daylight.
When you know a storm is on the way, which could mean 'lights out' for a while, make sure that you have a couple of solar lamps fully charged with sunlight that can be placed strategically around the house. These lamps don't cost anything to run, and you only have to leave them out in the sun to charge.
Tips for surviving power outages
• Always keep cellphones, tablets and e-readers fully charged, or have alternative (solar) chargers in case of emergency.
• Have enough battery or solar lights on hand to ensure a home is well lighted.
• Limit the amount of times you open the refrigerator / freezer to keep foods frozen, especially during the summer months.
• If you live in an area where there are mosquitoes, buy a couple of mosquito coils to burn when the power is off.
• Switch off appliances and lights that were left on before you retire for the night. Appliances that don't automatically switch off in the event of a power outage will come back on when the power does!