Village Voice: January 2020

Welcome to 2020

As I write this article it is currently 18 degrees and overcast; I had my office heater on when I arrived at work this morning and I am wondering when summer will arrive. However I know that when it does, we will have hot days, the Victorian Power Grid may struggle to cope and we will likely have power blackouts as demand exceeds supply and cool change storms roll in and knock over trees into power lines.

This all sounds like a doom and gloom way to start the year and decade, however it is important to prepare for seasonal change – and with more information than ever before available at the click of a button, I hope that the “20’s” are a decade that enables us all to be more proactive in all aspects of our lives.

A really good summary of what to do in a power blackout was extracted from an RACV message and shared with me by a Resident (thank-you to John T).

How to prepare for a blackout, and what to do when it hits.    

Severe weather such as storms, high winds, lightning, floods and heatwaves are often to blame for power failure, especially if wild weather causes trees to fall across powerlines. Here is what the RACV recommends we do to prepare for power failure.

Before an outage ensure you have:

  • A charged mobile phone.
  • Alternatives to mains lighting such as torches, LED lanterns or candles.
  • A battery-powered radio for updates on outages and weather.
  • An alternative if you have life-saving equipment such as an oxygen concentrator.
  • A list of important phone numbers.
  • If it’s a planned outage, set your freezer and fridge to the coldest setting and freeze some of the items from your fridge.

During an outage:

  • Turn off and unplug all electrical appliances to prevent damage from a power surge when electricity is restored.
  • Check if your neighbours have lost power and if they haven’t, check that your safety switch hasn’t tripped.
  • Move food from fridge to freezer and only open fridge or freezer doors when necessary.
  • The emergency nurse call system has a battery backup, however after a prolonged outage this may also lose power. If you need the nurse, call 0408 591 263

After an outage:

  • Food that is still cold to touch (less than five degrees) can be eaten within four hours but after that must be thrown away.
  • Freezers set at minus15 degrees can keep foods at safe temperatures for one to two days.
  • Frozen food that has defrosted can be refrozen if it is still cold to touch or less than five degrees.

When Summer does finally arrive, remember to be proactive about your home security – lock your doors and don’t leave doors and windows open at night. If you don’t have air-conditioning in your unit, make use of the cool community centres and be certain to drink plenty of water.

Take care, stay cool,

Kim Jackson, Executive Manager