What to Do When There is a Power Outage?

checking mains power

An unexpected power outage can be unsettling but knowing what to do if you lose power and being prepared can help you stay calm.

If you find yourself without power, our guide will cover the first steps in a power loss situation, how to prepare for power outages and electrical emergencies, and when to call an emergency electrician.

What To Do If the Electricity Goes Off

If the power goes out, the first priority is keeping yourself and your family safe. Next, you can take steps to stay comfortable and protect your electrical appliances and equipment.

Here are the first steps to take if your electricity goes off: 

  • Stay calm
  • Practice emergency electrical safety
  • Check the coverage of the power outage – Is it just your home or the entire area?
  • Disconnect electrical appliances to protect them from damage if a power surge happens
  • Disconnect other electronic equipment or devices
  • Consider turning off the power to your switchboard to protect against power surges
  • Do not open your fridge or freezer – this will help prevent food from spoiling
  • Leave the inspections for a professional — do not try to fix the situation yourself 
  • Use a torch for lighting – We prefer torches to candles as they are safer. If you do use candles, never leave them unattended and keep them away from anything flammable.
  • Avoid turning breakers on and off. Circuit breakers should automatically shut off if there is an overload. 
  • If needed and if it is safe, move to a different location for cooling or heating
  • Notify family, friends, or neighbours of the situation
  • After the outage, check surge protectors first before reconnecting your electrical appliances and devices 
  • When the power comes back on, wait 10 to 20 minutes before plugging electronics or appliances back in 
  • When in doubt, contact a local emergency electrician or emergency services for assistance 

Common Causes of a Power Outage

Unexpected power outages can happen for a variety of reasons, from extreme weather to faulty technology.

Common causes of blackouts include:

  • Fallen trees or branches that damage power lines
  • Earthquakes
  • Electrical failures or faulty equipment
  • Lightning
  • Heavy wind or rain
  • Intense storms
  • Car accidents

resetting switchboard

How Can I Prepare for a Power Outage?

A bit of planning can save a lot of frustration during a power outage and help you stay calm during an electrical emergency. 

Here are 4 ways to prepare for a power outage:

  1. Have a Surge-Protecting Power Bar Installed – Installing a surge-protecting power bar is an effective way to protect your electrical appliances in the event of a power surge. 
  2. Have an Emergency Plan in Place – Have an emergency plan in place so your family knows what to do during and after a power outage. Discuss where emergency supplies are, discuss electrical emergency safety tips, and practice escape routes if an electrical fire occurs. 
  3. Educate Yourself and Your Family About Electrical Emergencies – Power outages are often the result of downed power lines or lightning strikes, both of which could lead to fires. You and your family should know how to stay safe in the event of a fallen wire, electrical fire, or damaged power lines. It is important to discuss safety tips for an electrical emergency before it occurs. This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some important electrical emergency safety tips:
    • Have contact information for a local emergency electrician handy so you know exactly where to find it 
    • Stay at least 10 to 15 metres away from faulty or fallen power lines and notify emergency services if you notice downed wires 
    • Always assume any broken power lines are still live
    • Never touch an object that is in contact with a fallen power line
    • If someone gets an electric shock, do not touch them. Turn off the power source right away if possible. Use a non-conductive object to separate the person from the electricity source if possible. Call the Ambulance Service on 000.
    • For an electrical fire, turn off the power source if you can safely do so. Try to put out the fire with a Class C fire extinguisher, baking soda (for small fires), or a fire blanket. Do not use water on electrical fires. If you cannot cut the power supply, you will need a Class E fire extinguisher. Evacuate immediately and call 000. 
    • Even if you put out a fire, emergency services should still check the premises to ensure there are no smouldering objects or wires. 
    • When in doubt, contact your local emergency electrician or emergency services
  4. Have an Emergency Kit on Hand – Be prepared for an electrical emergency with a kit that includes items such as:
    • A basic first aid kit that includes gauze, bandages, antibacterial ointment, etc.
    • Sanitation products (i.e. toilet paper, soap, garbage bags with ties, etc.)
    • Torches
    • Spare batteries
    • Battery-operated fans
    • Drinking water
    • A car charger you can use to charge your cell phone 
    • Non-perishable food items
    • Manual can opener
    • Basic tools (i.e. utility knife, pliers, wrench, etc.)
    • Small fire extinguisher
    • Duct tape
    • Matches in a waterproof container

Is It Just My House or Has Everyone Lost Power?

If your power goes out, one of the first steps is determining if it is just affecting your house or if neighbouring houses also lost power.

An easy clue is looking outside. Do the neighbours have lights on? Are there street lights on? If so, your property may have an electrical fault.

To know for sure, check with your relevant local power authority. To check power outages in and around Perth, we recommend visiting Western Power who builds, maintains, and operates the electricity network in the southwest corner of Western Australia.

If it is an area-wide outage, the power company will be responsible for restoring electricity to the area. If you notice damaged or downed wires, notify emergency services.

Who to Call When the Power Is Out?

If your power is out but you realise that only your home is affected, call a local emergency electrician such as Limelight Electrix.

We can immediately provide support and dispatch an emergency electrician to your home in the event of a power outage or electric failure.

Our licensed electricians are available 24/7 for any electrical concern, ensuring you have peace of mind during an electrical emergency.

We also offer electrical inspections to ensure your home’s electrical systems are working properly. We can evaluate your switchboard and safety switches to help prevent electrical emergencies.

Contact Limelight Electrix any time with concerns or call us on 1300 880 761 to schedule an inspection.

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