South Africans to take necessary precautions in protecting their property.
When the load shedding stages increase, so does the frequency of the rotational power cuts – which results in the increased risk of damage to sensitive electronic items due to power surges, fires and crime (as a result of security systems not operating properly). Marius Steyn, Personal Lines Underwriting Manager, says South Africans need to mitigate the damages caused by load shedding by being prepared prior to power going off.
“The reality is, load shedding has an immense impact on consumers and businesses alike – who must cope with the damage to appliances brought on by power surges or risk loss through theft, burglary as a result of faulty security systems,” said Steyn.
Steyn cautions consumers and provides things to consider mitigating risks that may be caused by power cuts:
1 . Ensure that your alarm system is in working condition and the backup battery is fully functional to provide power to the system in the event of load shedding.
2 . Spare torch or headlamp: Keep a torch in your car, for when you arrive home at night during a power outage. Most smartphones also have a built-in torch or torch apps which come in handy during unexpected power outages.
3 . 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 the fire department, police and medical services. Also include contact information of friends and family, along with insurance information.
4 . Charge your cellphone, 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 (like a power bank) close by, this comes in handy during extended power outages. Staying connected to the 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.
5 . 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 also a good idea to keep hot water in a thermal flask so that you can make hot drinks. Also consider preparing meals beforehand if you know when there’s going to be a scheduled blackout.
6 . 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.
7 . 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.
8 . 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 your electrical distribution board or alternatively at the power outlet to the electronic device.
9 . 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.
To access your area’s load shedding schedule, click here.