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What to do in a power cut

19th October 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Power cuts are typically rare, but in the event that they do occur, it’s important that you are prepared and know the necessary steps to take. This guide will help to ensure you have all you need for a power cut, as well as explain what you should do if you find that you no longer have access to electricity.

Do you have these items in your home?

While it’s easy to think you’ll worry about a power cut when the time comes, if you’re caught out without the right items in your home, it will be much more difficult to sort the issue. Keeping a torch to hand is essential as if a power cut occurs during the evening or in the early hours of the morning, you are unlikely to be able to see around your home, which increases the chances of accidents. You may also like to have candles and matches to hand as an added back-up.

It’s important to bear in mind that your mains phone will probably not work during a power cut, so we advise either keeping an analogue phone in the home, or keeping a mobile phone charged at all times. This is so you can call for help, or inform the electricity distributor of the problem.

For extra precautions, you may also like to buy surge protector plugs, which will help to protect your expensive electrical items from any damage.

Do you have the necessary back-up?

If you are in good health then you should be able to manage without power for a certain length of time. However, this may be more difficult for those with particular medical conditions or mobility restrictions.

Those who rely on medical equipment will want to ensure that it has the necessary battery back-up, so that it will still be able to be used in the event of a power cut. Most come as standard but it is best to check to ensure you are covered. Should you have any worries or experience any health problems during a power cut, then call NHS Direct for help.

If you are the owner of a stairlift in the UK, or a rise and recliner chair, then you can usually rest assured that they feature an integrated battery back-up system to ensure users are not stranded. This is true of all products sold by Handicare.

Are your neighbours affected?

Depending on the time of the day, and your mobility, it is recommended that you visit a neighbour should you notice a power cut. This will help you to eliminate whether the issue is within your home, or affecting more of the houses on your street or estate. If you find that your neighbours are affected then only one of you needs to contact the electricity distributor, yet if they remain unaffected they may be able to help you with certain things such as cooking should your power cut happen for a long duration.

For those without gas cooking appliances, Western Power suggests warming baby bottles and food with warm water if you are unable to get help from your neighbours.

Can you find the cause of the problem?

If it does appear to just be your home, then you should check your electricity meter. If you find that there are lights on the box, then the problem is likely to be inside your property. The next thing to do is to check your fuse box and look for any tripped switches, turning any that are off back on.

If they continue to switch themselves off, it could be that you have a faulty appliance or wiring. If this is the case, then begin unplugging appliances one at a time to try and source the problem. Following this, if you have no success, make sure to call your electricity distributor. Do not assume that they already know about your problem.

Image Credit: Tom Williams, Daniel Oines, Demion, Spencer Means (flickr.com)