Tag Archives: powercut

Cold Wave – beyond Cold Weather Action to Personal Preparedness

Have you seen some of the lovely snow and ice pictures floating around on social media since yesterday? This blog about Cold Weather Preparedness is the exact opposite from my earlier post on Heatwave – beyond Heat Health Watch to Personal Preparedness back in June. Since we are pretty firmly on a path where we need to Prepare for a world that’s more than 2°C warmer  which translates into more frequent and severe weather events, personal preparedness really does make a lot of sense. You can take pro-active steps to be better prepared and stay well and healthy also with regards to being #WinterReady.  So….

What is personal preparedness for a cold wave?

First, it’s about being informed which then means you can get better prepared. Let’s break this down and a good example here is this post from the Northamptonshire Emergency Planning Team. Take a closer look at the graphic:

The UK’s MetOffice issues Cold Weather Action alerts as part of ‘Cold Weather Health Watch’.  This system operates in England from the 1 November to 31 March every year and runs in association with Public Health England. Currently there is a level three AMBER warning in place which for the authorities means that social and healthcare services must execute specific actions with regards to high-risk population groups such as the very young, the elderly or those with certain chronic health conditions. What exactly happens on the government side, you can find out on the Cold Weather Plan for England. Importantly, you can take personal steps to be better prepared. Cold weather can mean snow and ice which, if you’re out may look like this

Naturally, it makes a lot of sense to prepare yourself and your vehicle properly before setting out. Stay updated on the weather and road conditions and allow for plenty of time. This blog, naturally, recommends proper winter driving preparedness, for example:

Personal #Preparedness matters | https://t.co/KIqCuQazkD#RoadSafety #HealthandSafety #WinterReady #car #travel #weekend #driving #snow #ice #RTC #crash #delays #weatheraware #prepared pic.twitter.com/G9l6GHlDNk

— EVAQ8 Emergency Kits (@EVAQ8_news)

… and listen to Dave, he has excellent advice for the enthusiastic:

 

In addition, preparing properly for a Cold Wave also concerns your home; for example see our info page on severe winter preparedness.  Keep in mind that freezing temperatures, snow and ice have other consequences, such as power cuts  which may also impact your home food safety .  Therefore, you may want to consider some basic shelter-in-place measures and stocking the right emergency food which you can prepare and enjoy even when utilities become disrupted.
Keeping warm is key during a cold weather alert. There are easy and simple steps you can take to stay safe at home and when going out:

  •  keep your main rooms heated, use extra blankets
  •  take extra care with electrical items and be #FireSafety aware
  • dress in layers and keep active
  • take extra care when out and about to avoid accidents
  • stay #weatheraware, have the right kit and supplies

Finally, a super

TOP TIP for Cold Weather preparedness

… and you will laugh for it’s a very small thing. Carry an emergency foil blanket in your backpack or handbag. It’s cheap, hardly takes up space nor adds weight and is a potential life saver. And that, by the way, applies for business too which should always stock emergency blankets as part of their business preparedness.

 

And so I leave you with a couple of lovely winter images and wish you a warm and prepared rest of the week and a cosy and safe weekend #StaySafe #bePrepared.

Monika

 

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It pays to be #winterready and  better prepared. Avoid being stranded! Check out our info page What goes into a Winter Car Emergency Kit .

 

Emergency Preparedness and Food Safety in the UK

The last thing you need after an emergency such as severe weather and flooding which has knocked out your power supply is food poisoning.  Knowing what to do before, during and after a powercut, brownout or blackout is important to avoid potentially serious health problems.

Food Safety in an Emergency: it’s all about time and temperature control

Know your numbers for safe food:

  • +5C fridge setting or less to keep food cool (40F)
  • -18C freezer setting or less to keep food frozen (0F)
  • 2 days  = max time food stays frozen in a well-stocked , unopened freezer
  • 4 hours = max time food stays cold in a well-stocked, unopened fridge

Importantly, not all spoiled food will look or smell bad. So, after 4 hours of power outage, transfer foods that spoil faster into a cooler with ice and keep under 5C: meat, dairy, cheese.

source USDA | https://i.pinimg.com/736x/7f/9a/40/7f9a404591149d829b7e282b65690b14--power-outage-food-safety.jpg

Food Safety in an Emergency: what to keep and what to throw out

Thankfully, power cuts are usually quickly resolved but when they’re not, your fridge is your week point. Remember to transfer your fridge food after 4 hours of power outage to an ice cooler and keep it under 5C . Your food safety rule of thumb: when in doubt, throw it out.  Food poisoning, while usually not life threatening, is nevertheless seriously unpleasant.

You can keep frozen food that are still icy and uncooked fruit and vegetable. After more than 2 hours at room temperature throw out: meat, soft cheese, opened sauces, leftovers, sliced fruit and vegetables, cooked fruit and vegetables. Remember, not all spoiled food looks or smells bad. When in doubt – throw it out!

WATCH  FDA’s video Food Safety during Power Outages

 

Another good video is from Canada, with Chef Geremy Capone from  ELLICSR Kitchen

 

Preparedness, including food safety, are big topics in the US as these two tweets leading up to and during Hurricane Irma show

 

In the UK, food safety information is somewhat more thin on the ground especially with regards to preparedness. However, the good news is that Food Safety guidance aimed at catering business is easily adaptable to household preparedness. For example, check out the Food Standard Agencys’ page How chilled is your food, safer food better business and their food alerts.

In the US, there is a dedicated number to call in emergencies.

As far as I’m aware, that kind of service is not yet available in the UK. Like with so much about preparedness, there is much that yet needs to be done all around. And this leads me to ask: do you know about #30days30waysUK? It’s a month long campaign each September to boost personal preparedness and resilience. Day 19 (#prep2017day19) is about food safety. Follow @30days30waysUK and take part. And finally, check out the info pages here  on UK Food Security and Emergency and Survival Food.

Be prepared, not scared.

Monika
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Emergency preparedness for individuals: what you must plan and prepare for

No-one can predict the future accurately.
But we all can plan and prepare for it.

Getting better prepared and creating networks of support that build community resilience are crucial so that it does NOT end up as a case of aid versus preparedness as I wrote earlier.

So, what is it then that you must plan and prepare for?

Different emergencies or disasters call for different responses. Some of these are tackled in the scenarios at the preparedness hub. However, what sometimes gets overlooked this way is that there are common threads running through all of these. It has to do with consequences rather than with causes of emergencies and disasters and that is a good way to talk about preparedness, especially with people that are new to the topic. So, what it all boils down to is that you must …

be prepared for:  delays in getting help

It’s not that the emergency services don’t want to get to you in a disaster but the same things that stop you also affect them: road closures, lack of communication, severe weather conditions … not to mention the many people that will want assistance all at the same time.

The emergency services and local authorities are mandated by law to serve, survey and respond over an entire area and provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Naturally, they cannot get to everyone right away so there will be a delay in help. That is why you need to be able to take care of yourself at least for some time.

There is a lot you can do for self-reliance and to get better prepared. The general recommendation is to stock a minimum of three days, or in other words 72 hours’ worth of supplies,  essentially non-perishable food, clean water and medications to shelter-in-place as well as an emergency grab bag for safe evacuation. What that looks like, check out the blog series on safe evacuation; especially ‘mass’ evacuation and why ‘self’ evacuation preparedness makes a lot of sense.

With this, you’re off to a great start but keep in mind that the more you prepare and get equipped the better off you will be in a real disaster or emergency. Find out more about how to build your own emergency kit and check out the survival kit list.

 

be prepared for: road closures

Flooding, landslides etc. can collapse roads and bridges and affect how you can move around with public transport and your own vehicle. Always keep a half tank of fuel in your car and spare road maps as part of your car safety kit in case GPS is disrupted and you are forced into unfamiliar areas.

In the event of a mass evacuation, be prepared for a long journey. It may well end up looking like this

 

be prepared for: power outages

Power outages mean no ATMs or cash dispensers, no petrol pumps at your gas station, your fridge/freezer stops working and food goes off (Emergency Preparedness and FoodSafety), the batteries in your phone and gadgets don’t get charged, no TV or internet …  Following on from the earlier example of the recent flash flooding in Coverack, it appears the community there knows that scenario well …

Read more about preparedness for power cuts, brown outs and black outs and also check out food security especially for communities.  

 

be prepared for: lack of clean water

Water mains bursts and flooding can mean outages and contamination of your water supply. In an emergency, shut off your supply to keep your clean water in and dirty, unsafe water out. Read more about utilities shut off safety. Your home may already have ’emergency stores’ i.e. top reservoirs of toilets, boilers, garden reservoirs etc. but keep in mind that  water purification is essential for health.

Minimum clean water supplies are usually given as 1 gallon (approx. 4.5 lt) per person per day for basic needs such as drinking, food preparation and hygiene. If you have pets, count each one as you would a person for extra reserves.

source: http://learn.eartheasy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/flood-drinking-water1.jpg

 

be prepared for: limited or no communication

Communication systems may get knocked out which means you may be unable to call for help or get information the usual way. It also means you may lose touch with loved ones. Having a communications plan and preparedness measures in place is vital. Check out our free template on the preparedness hub to get you started so that it does not come to this …

source: http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/new-orleans-united-states-a-plea-for-help-appears-on-the-roof-of-a-picture-id71757327

be prepared for: property damage

If you’re lucky, property damage is minimal which means you can shelter-in-place and ride it out. However, property damage may be extensive which means you can no longer safely stay and must evacuate and shelter elsewhere.

The most common damage to property is from fire. There is a lot you can do for better fire safety and fire preparedness. Other common property damage may result from flooding or wind. Take a look at his short video showing the impact of different wind speeds. It may be set in the tropics with palm trees but applies to other settings too.

be prepared for: living in a shelter

Living in a shelter is not like living at home. The better prepared you are the more comfortable you will be. Living in a shelter can look very different depending on circumstances and duration. You may choose to provide your own shelter by staying with loved ones, moving into a hotel or even camp outdoors. Alternatively, you may be given shelter provided by the authorities and volunteers. Often, this will look similar to this example in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower Disaster

be prepared for: a new ‘normal’ Depending on the severity of the emergency or disaster, clean-up and recovery can take a long time. In many instances lives are disrupted for extended periods of time and never get quite back to how things were before. A ‘new normal’ eventually settles in as people piece their lives back together. What that may look like for you is something you can help determine. Start planning and preparing today so that you can be better prepared tomorrow. Events like flooding are sadly the new reality as we all face and must prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer.  

Be prepared, not scared. Start today for a safer and more secure tomorrow.

Monika  

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For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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Preparedness for Power Cuts, Brownouts and Blackouts

updated 09/10/2017

Power failures are common in the wake of storms (BBC) and disasters, man-made or natural; for example floods (Telegraph) and drought (Brazil dries up and blacks out, 2015, Bloomberg) even UK mini heatwaves (Ashbourne News Telegraph). Also see South Australia’s Blackout explained (09/2016 black start)

Power outages can also occur without warning because of faults or accidents.

You may need to shelter-in-place and wait it out or you may have to evacuate (Feb 2015: Liverpool One John Lewis evacuated after power cut as restaurants unable to serve food, Liverpool Echo)

 

Power cuts are predicted to become more frequent, not only causing damage to the economy ($180 billion in the USA) but also affect transport, security and health (Lincoln University). Concerns and discussions on the UK energy safety gap are ongoing (Guardian).

2003 – a memorable year for spectacular power cuts

Looking back, 2003 was a particularly eventful year. In the US and Canada 55 million people were affected during the Great Northeast Blackout, 14th August 2003:   Fortunately, most power cuts last only minutes, but even such short durations can have a substantial impact on you personally as well as business. The London Blackout (28 August 2003) lasted just 34 minutes (BBC) during which  

        • 400 calls were taken by the London Fire Brigade
        • 100 rescues were made
        • all main rail services stopped in London and the South East
        • 60% of London Underground was affected

 If not stranded in lifts or underground, thousands of Londoners and visitors either took to the rain soaked streets or found shelter in candle lit pubs and restaurants. Outages not only happen in summer. They happen every day (DNO live twitter list) and can affect everyone. Most spectacularly and recently again London:

 

What is a Brownout? What to do during a Brownout

source: http://m.epandl.com/0_0_0_0_295_273_csupload_46955312.jpg?u=3094454775Brownouts, the opposite of a power surge, refer to a drop in voltage that can last for minutes or hours. Brownouts  commonly occur either by accident or intentional, for example, when used for emergency load reduction to avert a full blown a blackout.     Common signs of a brownout are      

                • flickering lights
                • rapid switching on/off of appliances
                • sudden computer and internet failure

 Usually harmless, brownouts nevertheless can damage your equipment so when you notice rapidly flickering lights, act immediately and unplug your computers, routers, TV, devices being charged, all appliances etc. During a Brownout, as soon as you notice fluctuations (i.e. when the lights start flickering badly)  

            • switch off and unplug computers, TVs, printers, routers, mobile phones, tablets or any other devices that are plugged in and/or charging
            • reduce your power consumption: switch off anything you do not need
            • be ready for a blackout in case your supply fails to stabilise source: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/71610000/jpg/_71610198_71610193.jpg

 

Preparedness for a Power Cut – follow these 10 top tips

Know your supplier and how to contact them. Suppliers often host a live power outage map and provide information and support also on twitter. The new emergency number for power cuts is 105 see guidance from your supplier; i.e. UK Power Networks’ Domestic and Business

          • make a checklist/map of all your electrical items that need turning OFF in case of a power cut
          • if you use crucial medical equipment requiring electricity, put yourself on your suppliers priority register
          • alternative communications: keep a plug-in cord telephone for emergencies that does not need electricity; stock spare batteries and power packs for mobile devices
          • alternative power: ranges from power generators to UPS devices (~ 1 hour), batteries and hand-crank or solar operated devices; more see generators

 

What to do during a Power Cut – NEW! CALL 105*

Is it just you? Check your fuse box to see if any have tripped – there could be a problem with your property’s wiring and you may need to call an electrician. If your neighbor is also affected, then call your local distribution company to find out if it’s a network problem. Normally, power cuts are locally or regionally based

          • switch OFF all appliances and equipment that may have been in use before the interrupt
          • leave one light switched on to know when the power is restored
          • secure your property; bells and alarms may not work during the outage (manual warning)

 

What to do when Power is restored

          • check all your equipment and appliances
          • only gradually turn your equipment and appliances back on, keeping an eye on possible fluctuations
          • check and and reset all timer switches; i.e. water heating, gas or oil central heating systems, electric clocks

Additional useful resources to understand what happens, the consequences of power cuts and what you must plan and prepare for and how to prepare for and cope with power outages:

      • list of major power outages wiki
      • electric safety HSE
      • will your landline work during a power cut? Ofcom

 Be prepared, not scared. Have a good week.

Monika | @MonikaAlMufti 

This page is also accessed by bit.ly/powercutUK   thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness for Emergency Preparedness!

 

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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