What you need in your emergency kit for power outages
You never know when an emergency could strike, whether it be bushfire, cyclone, flood or anything else, so it is important to prepare your household for an unexpected loss of utilities.
Here is a guide to help you survive should your power be switched off in a crisis.
Make sure you have an emergency kit set up at home so you can make it through a power outage, whether it's just for a few hours - or for a few weeks.
Your kit should include a torch and spare batteries so you can see properly without any lights on. Make sure you have a good supply of fresh batteries in case you need to replace them. Torches with led lights are ideal as they have a longer expected life span.
Another important item to have on hand is a battery-powered radio so you can listen for the latest updates and weather announcements, Otherwise you may need to make a trip out to your car to listen to the news, which might not be ideal in the conditions.
An eski is another important consideration as this may help you save any perishable items. However, closing your fridge and freezer doors should be enough to keep most food safe for at least an hour.
If you do experience a power outage, it could be best to put an insulating blanket over the food if possible. It could also be worth placing bagged ice underneath food packages and trays in the fridge or freezer if it has been longer than an hour.
Once cold or frozen food is no longer cold to the touch it must be cooked and eaten within four hours, according to the Victorian Department of State Development, Business and Innovation.
The Australian Emergency Management Department say food in the fridge will be safe for around four hours after a power failure and frozen foods for a day, providing it has not exceeded temperatures of 6 degrees, at which point the items should be disposed of.
You should, however, have an adequate supply of canned, dried and long-life food as part of your emergency kit as well as plenty of water - enough to last 14 days.
What you should do to be energy safe in a natural disaster
Stay away from fallen power lines, but if you spot any, call your electricity supplier or distributor on the faults and emergencies number that you should be able to find on your latest power bill.
Check your neighbour's property - if it is just your house without power it may be a tripped safety switch rather than a power outage. It is also wise to check that your neighbours are all right, particularly if they are elderly or have special needs.
However, if you determine it is a power outage, you will want to ensure appliances are switched off as they can flick back on when you're not home, racking up your electricity prices.
Posted by Liam Tunney.