Do you need to personally experience a power outage before you can prepare for the next one?
Weather events such as heavy snow, floods and storms can cause power outages. Power outages can also be caused by technical problems or shortage of electricity. Repairing damage caused by nature is not always easy, and the power outage may last for a while.
If the lights and TV go out, the cause may be a fault in the appliance, a power outage or a problem with the home’s own electrical system.
- Try if the lights turn on in other rooms and whether other household appliances work.
- Check the fuse board to make sure that the fuses are intact.
- See if the neighbour has the lights on.
If you notice that the power lines have been damaged or a tree has fallen on them - report it to the electricity company.
Turn off the lights and electrical appliances in your home during a power outage. The most important appliances to turn off are the stove, iron, coffee machine and washer. They can cause a fire when the power comes back on.
Food during a power outage
Refrigerated and frozen products
- During the cold months, store perishable foods outdoors and well protected.
- Don’t open the freezer unnecessarily to avoid food from thawing.
- Protect the bases of fridges and freezers from meltwater.
Hot food can be prepared with a portable stove or outdoors in a barbecue. Remember fire safety and keep extinguishing equipment on hand.
Using water and toilet during power outage
In the event of a power outage, water may still be available, but the use of drains should be avoided. During a long power outage, water may be available at first but stop at some point. In some properties, water supply may stop immediately.
Keep up with the information provided by your own water utility and follow their instructions. Instructions may vary regionally. You can get up-to-date information from the water utility’s website. If your water utility offers notifications on interruptions, order them.
Don’t pour water down the drain even if water comes from the tap
- Don’t take a shower or a bath.
- A power outage doesn’t affect the quality of tap water, and you can safely drink it.
- Use cold water. In properties that use district heating, hot water can become scorchingly hot during a power outage.
Avoid using the toilet if you can
- Don´t flush the toilet during a power outage due to the risk of flooding the drain network.
- During a power outage, avoid using the toilet whenever possible.
- If you must use the toilet, do not flush it until the electricity has come back.
- When you don´t flush the toilet, collect used toilet paper in a garbage bag to avoid blocking the toilet.
- Observe good hand hygiene. If you get water from the tap, clean your hands on top of a bucket or wash bowl. If there is no water coming, use wet wipes and hand sanitiser.
If the power outage gets prolonged
- If the power outage gets prolonged, you can relieve yourself in a plastic bag placed under the ring of the toilet bowl.
- Put some dry material, like toilet paper or shredded newspaper, in the bag. Close the bag tightly. Put the sealed bags inside two other plastic bags. Close the outer bag carefully and sort it to mixed waste.
If a power outage happens in the winter, your home will get cold very quickly. It’s important to stay warm.
How to stay warm
- Reserve enough warm clothes and blankets for everyone.
- Eat well and get enough rest.
- The oven or fireplace are good sources of extra heat.
- Shut the windows and keep the front door closed. Heat escapes quickly if the front door is opened repeatedly.
- Close the connecting doors to corridors, the entrance and hallway and stop up all gaps.
- Water for a hot water bottle can be heated with a portable stove.
- Remember that alcohol will not keep you warm.
If the home temperature drops below +15 degrees
- Try to keep one area of the home warm. Close the doors to rooms along the outer walls and corners and stop up the draught with carpets or towels.
- Cover the windows with thick curtains or blankets. Put more carpets on the floor.
- Wear warm, breathable clothes. Put more socks or shoes on and wear a beanie and gloves if necessary.
If you have to spend the night in a cold home
- Move the beds to the warmest area in the home. Put all duvets and blankets to good use. A good sleeping bag will keep you warm.
- The whole family should sleep side by side under the same blankets. One person generates as much heat as a 70-watt light bulb.
- To stay warmer, build a tent out of blankets around a table and sleep under the table. You can also set up a camping tent inside.