Tuesday, December 12

What Should You do if There is a Long Blackout?

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  1. The first thing you should do after the power has gone out is unplug your computer, TV, fax machine, dishwasher, washing-machine and dryer.  Leave your lights and fridge on, as the lights will alert you to the power coming back on, and it is essential that the fridge gets up and running when power is restored.  If you happen to have heaters or air-conditioners running, turn them off too.
  2. Take a walk down your street (if you live in an urban area) to see if it is just your house without power.  If you are the only one, make sure your mains are turned on, and that your fuses are on and have not blown.  In most cases the area around you won’t have power.  If so, don’t bother checking the mains and fuses.

  3. If it is the daytime, wait for a few hours.  If it is nighttime, or it is starting to get dark, grab a torch or two, some candles and your cellphone.  

  4. If several more hours have passes and the power has not been restored, you should unplug your wireless phone that requires mains power and replace it with a corded phone.  Traditional corded phones do not require mains electricity to run (they run using the power in the phone line).  You can now call people, and they can call you.

  5. When it starts to get dark, no doubt you’ll be missing your TV.  If you have a laptop computer, grab that and your favorite DVD and watch it on your laptop.  If your laptop doesn’t have an optical drive, go and fetch your external one.  While your watching, you may as well charge your phone off your laptop.  So go and find the USB charger for your phone and plug it in.  

  6. If your laptop has died and you are finding yourself in the dark with nothing to do, go for a drive around town.  Try to find a part of town (or another town) with electricity, and grab a coffee and a hot meal.  It would also be a good idea to fill up your car with gas, as your local gas stations won’t be operating without power.

  7. Go to sleep.  Remember to keep a torch and your cellphone handy by your bed, in case you wake up in the night and the power is still out.  By morning the power should be back on.  

  8. If the electricity is still out when you get up, it might be time to call your power company and ask whats up.  Hopefully you have your phone company’s number on a fridge magnet or in your phone book.  Call them on your good old corded phone, or if you don’t have one, your mobile phone.  Only use your cellphone if you have no corded phone you can use, as you’ll want to conserve it’s battery as much as possible.  

  9. As it has been quite a while since the power went out in your area, your power company probably would have stopped being flooded with calls, so you should be able to talk to someone quite quickly.  When you ring them up, don’t be surprised if there is a recorded message telling you what the problem is and how much longer it will be till its fixed.  

  10. The rest really depends on what information your power company gave you when you called them.  If they say the power will be restored in a couple of hours, the wait is almost over.  However if its going to take another day, you may want to do things like eat your perishable food now.

When the blackout is over, you may want to prepare yourself for the future.  There are many ways you can do this, such as:

•Purchase a fridge that can run off mains power or gas.  This means it will act as a normal fridge when the power is on, but when there is a blackout it can switch to gas.

•Get a solar or hand wound cellphone charger.  

•Purchase a gas stove, so you can still cook if there is a power failure.

•Install a smallish solar panel and battery system, so if there is a blackout or a brownout you can still run some appliances such as microwaves & TVs.  You can use it to charge things like cellphones and laptops too.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this article gave you much helpful information about blackouts and what to do when they occur.  If you liked this article, check out the one I wrote about brownouts too:  http://www.bukisa.com/articles/411120_what-should-you-do-if-there-is-a-brownout

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