Organisation and Productivity

Power Cut Survival Guide

Power lines and pilons against a grey sky.
Photo by David Hellmann on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, we had a power cut at my house. We lost power at around 4.30 pm, just as it was getting dark outside, and it didn’t come back on until around 6 am the next morning. My family and I, therefore, had to cope with a dark evening and night with no power or lights.

The experience gave me the idea for this blog post, and I am going to share with you some of the ways in which we coped with the power cut, including the activities we did. I will also share some other general tips to help you deal with a power cut.

Be Prepared for a Power Cut

The following tips are things you can do right now to make sure that you are prepared for next time you get a power cut. 

Light

  • Make sure you have a supply of candles, matches, torches and batteries.

    Imagine if the power cuts out, it’s dark, and you realise you have no source of light other than your phone torch. If it’s stormy outside, you won’t want to venture out to a shop to buy a torch. It’s a good idea to have several torches stored in drawers around the house, and make sure you have plenty of batteries to power them. You can also get battery-powered lanterns.

    Candles are great decorative items to have around the home. They are functional too because they can provide an atmospheric source of light during a power cut. Make sure you have a supply of matches or a working lighter.
A torch and a lantern
Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash
  • Line the route to your front door with solar-powered lights. This way you will find your way to your door if you arrive home during a power cut after dark. It is a good security feature too and has a lower environmental impact than electric lights.

Power

  • Get a portable phone charger.
    These are great to have because they are useful for travel as well. Make sure it is kept fully charged, i.e. if you use it, charge it up afterwards even if it is still partially charged. That way, if there is a power cut you will be able to charge up your phone at least once.

  • Always keep your phone and computer charged up as much as possible.
    You could set yourself a rule to always charge your phone (or other devices) at the same time in the morning or evening or to charge it any time you notice it gets below 50%. That way, you are less likely to get caught out with a low-charged device in a power cut.

Music

  • This is by no means essential, but if you like to listen to music, you could download one or more of your Spotify playlists (or whatever music player you use) so that if there is a power cut, you won’t need WiFi to play it.

During a Power Cut

If you’ve followed the tips above, you will be well prepared when a power cut strikes. But the following tips will help you during the power cut itself.

Power

  • If your phone runs out of charge, you can charge it in your car. The obvious disadvantage of this is that it wastes fuel by running the engine just to charge your phone. However, if you do need to make any journeys, you can take the opportunity to charge your phone while driving.

    Also, if you are already out and you find out that there is a power cut at home, it’s a good idea to charge your phone in the car on the way home. Keep a charging cable and any adapter you need in your car for this purpose.
  • Turn down the brightness and switch to a low-power setting on your phone and/or laptop to save power.
A phone with charger cable attached.
Photo by Andreas Haslinger on Unsplash

Light

If the power cut is in the daytime, it’s okay because we have natural light. If it is dark, however, light is an issue.

  • As mentioned earlier, you can use torches and candles for light.

  • If you have any battery-powered fairy lights, use them. Even if they are Christmas lights and it’s not Christmas time, it doesn’t matter. You are using the lights for a functional purpose.

Warmth

  • If you have an open fire or wood burner in your house, light it. This will give out warmth and light. Always keep some logs by the fire in case of a power cut. If the weather is bad, it wouldn’t be pleasant to have to go outside to collect logs from a shed or wherever you store them.

  • Conserve hot water by washing your hands with the cold tap. It’s not like the hot water usually warms up whilst washing your hands anyway! This way, if someone needs to have a shower before work or something, there will be enough hot water left for them. You can also conserve hot water by saving your washing-up to do when the power is back on.

  • Wrap up in warm clothes and blankets.

Related post: How to Get Warm Without Turning the Heating Up

A wood burner log fire, lit in a fireplace.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Food

  • Go out for dinner! If the weather is safe to travel in, this is the simplest way to get a cooked meal during a power cut.

  • Don’t keep opening the freezer to check if the food is defrosting. Opening it will only make it melt faster. Leave it closed for the best chance of keeping the food cold. Keep the fridge closed as much as possible too.
  • Use up foods in the fridge that would go off first. This is especially true if the power is expected to stay off for a while. Obviously, you can only use foods that can be eaten at room temperature and don’t need cooking or heating up.

Go out!

If the weather conditions are safe to travel in, why not get away from the power cut by going somewhere else? Here are some ideas:

  • Visit a friend or family member’s house.
  • Go to the pub.
  • Go to the gym or an exercise class.
  • Attend a social event.

Things to do during a Power Cut

Here are some ideas of activities you can do during a power cut, that don’t require power.

An open book with a string of fairy lights bundled in the middle, lighting the pages.
Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash
  • Make the most of the break from power. See it as a break from social media, screens, work and modern life. In the past, people didn’t have power. There are actually a lot of things you can do without power if you think about it.

  • If it’s light and the weather is okay, go for a walk.

  • Do some cleaning. Again, this only works if it’s light!

  • Read a book. If you have a decent torch it will shine enough light on your book and it doesn’t matter if the rest of the room is dark. In fact, it can create an atmosphere and help you to get into your book, because you can’t see outside distractions. I read Harry Potter during the recent power cut and it was really atmospheric. Maybe don’t read a scary book though!

  • If your laptop has enough battery charge (and you don’t need to use it for anything else) and it has a DVD drive, watch a DVD on your laptop. It will be like a cinema experience in the dark!

  • Meditate. A power cut is a perfect opportunity to switch off and take some time for yourself.

  • Play board games by candlelight. This is what my dad and I did during the recent power cut. It made me think of how people would entertain themselves this way in the past.

  • Listen to a battery-powered radio or CD player, if you have one.

  • Play with a pet. This can be fun in the dark, for example, you could get your cat to chase a torch beam.

  • Play hide and seek. The dark would add an extra element of fun!

  • Tell ghost stories. What better opportunity!

  • Have an early night and sleep it out. Hopefully, the power will be back in the morning, and you’ll wake refreshed after an extra-long sleep. If you haven’t already, make sure that lights, TV etc. are turned ‘off’ so that they don’t come back on in the night and wake you up.

Safety during a Power Cut

  • If it’s really stormy outside, stay indoors rather than venturing to a friend’s house or a pub, etc.

  • Don’t leave candles unattended. Also, make sure to extinguish all candles and fires before you go to bed.
A woman about to blow out a candle.
Photo by Claudia Ramírez on Unsplash

General Tips

  • As soon as the power goes off, take note of what things were switched on, for example, lights or television, and switch them off. This will save you energy if the power returns in the middle of the night, and you won’t get woken up by them coming back on.

  • Some power distributors have helplines you can call (or websites) to find out more information about a power cut, including what time the power is expected back on. It’s worth looking these up!

Thanks for reading my power cut survival tips

Fingers crossed, you won’t get a power cut at all, or at least not in the near future! But it’s worth being prepared because you never know when you might get one.

Have you had any power cuts recently? How long was the power out for, and how did you deal with the situation? Tell your story in the comments!

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Power Cut Survival Guide

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