How to prepare for a power outage
- Alarm Batteries: Have you alarm battery checked yearly as part of the regular maintenance on your home security system. If you receive a call or SMS from your security company advising that you have a low battery signal, contact their technical department as soon as possible to arrange to have the battery serviced.
- Electric Fencing: Make sure you have your electric fence battery checked regularly to ensure that it continues to work during a power failure. Check to make sure that you have a back-up battery as this also needs to be tested regularly and replaced if needed.
- Arriving or leaving Home: Be vigilant when leaving and arriving home in the evenings as the street lights and your outside lighting will not be functioning during the power cuts. If you notice any suspicious activity notify your neighbourhood watch, armed response company or SAPS.
- Automated gates and garage doors: Make sure you know how to manually operate gates and garage doors so that you can still gain access to your property during a power failure. Keep the keys to the gate motor arms in an accessible place, and remember to install good quality padlocks that are regularly oiled.
- Contact your security company: If you feel unsafe at any time during a power failure, contact your security company by using the panic button or contacting the control room emergency number. This number should ideally be stored on speed-dial on your cellphone. Don't wait for a power failure, check with your security company to ensure that they are prepared to assist you if needed.
What to do during a power outage:
- Spare torch or headlamp: Keep a torch in your car, in the event that you arrive home at night during a power outage. Most smartphone also have a built in torch or torch apps which come in handy during unexpected power outages.
- Emergency contact information: Save emergency contact information on your phone but also keep a paper copy safe and accessible. This should include the emergency services such as fire department, police and medical services. Also include contact information of friends and family along with insurance information.
- Charge your cell phone, laptop and tablet: Ensure your cellphone, laptop and tablet devices are fully charged ahead of scheduled blackouts. Be sure to charge them again as soon as possible after the power returns. It's also a good idea to have an emergency phone charger close by, this comes in handy during extended power outages. Staying connected internet is a great way to keep in touch with what's happening as well as for regular updates, remember to use devices sparingly during outages so that you don't drain the battery completely before the power returns.
- Gas for cooking and lighting: Get a small LP gas bottle and lamp. It gives good quality lighting for a large area and can also be used for cooking and boiling water. It's a good idea to keep hot water in a thermal flasks so that you can make hot drinks, also consider preparing meals beforehand If you know when there's going to be a scheduled blackout.
- Keep bottled water: Keeping emergency water stored is easy when frozen. This frozen bottled water will help keep food cold during a power outage and will also not spoil.
- Unplug your cables: Consider any electrical connection as live during a power outage as power can return at any time. Unplug any electronic devices or equipment or switch it off at the wall, including telephone cables. This is due to the surges in power that may occur when electricity is restored.
- Make use of surge protection: Electric surges are one of the biggest causes of damage to equipment during a power outage. Installing a surge protection device can help minimise some damage in unforeseen situations. Have a surge protection device fitted to you electrical distribution board.
- Back up your data: It is always important to back up data, make it a priority to save your data offsite, in case of a hard drive crash or unforeseen electrical fault. Online "cloud-based" backups are very convenient and are mostly automated, which means that you have one less thing to worry about.
Are you covered?
At Santam we understand that load shedding may result in alarm systems not operating properly, our building insurance and house contents insurance covers our policyholders in the event of systems failing to operate as a result of load shedding because that's what we believe insurance good and proper should do. If you're a Santam policyholder and want to find out more about our cover contact your broker or call us on 0860 444 444.