The whole country is unsure about any impacts we may suffer during the energy crisis this winter. The BSSA thought it would be useful to give you some handy tips/advice in the event of a power cut/outage.
As we approach the colder months, the National Grid has advised us all to take as much care as possible regarding power usage, warning that supplies may be short! Plus, there’s the added risk at this time of year of storms leading to disruption and possible power cuts.
With a percentage of the workforce now on a ‘blended’ working model any power disruption could happen in the workplace or at home.
Power shortages can happen at any time and will usually last for a few hours and it is hoped that this will not impact upon your working days too much. The list below is a handy guide and many of the pointers are not just for work but homelife too:
- Businesses should consider having continuity plans in place which should be referred to for how their service will be delivered if there is a loss of power or information and communications technology.
- Try to establish what has caused the power cut and how long it is going to last: Power cut in your area? | National Grid ESO (opens in new tab) or call 105 (free of charge from any network).
- Let your colleagues/line manager know and inform them of any urgent work – keep in touch.
- If you’re working from home, then you may be asked to relocate to the office if the disruption is going to be lengthy and vice-versa is the office is affected.
- Ensure devices and mobiles are fully charged in readiness for any power outages.
- Keep your laptop with you (ie. take it home) in case you need to work from home if work sites are closed unexpectedly.
- Beware if a business site is impacted the broadband will be affected and staff may not be able to connect to their specific business network. However, staff working from home may still be able to connect depending on the location. Remote workers should be able to access programmes such as Microsoft 365 services eg Outlook, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive etc. even if centralised systems are down.
- For a planned power outage, if your home location is impacted but the office sites are not, we suggest you plan ahead to ensure that you can continue working. If you have “hot desking” book a desk, and ensure travel and childcare is in place.
- Please be aware that the other sites within the same company or group, or support functions such as IT help desks may be impacted during power outages, even if you are not.
General considerations to help at home and at work:
- Keep a torches handy and stocked with fresh batteries and spares. Especially useful in areas that do not have any natural light and even during daylight hours don’t underestimate how dark it can be in during winter months.
- Don’t let your mobile phone dwindle to low battery. Keep it as charged as possible at all times so you’re prepared to tackle any eventuality.
- If you have portable battery packs, keeping them charged is a good idea as they can be used to keep mobiles and laptops topped-up during extended outages.
- Turn off electronic appliances and gadgets at the plug or unplug them entirely. When the power resumes after a power cut, it can cause surges, overloading and frying electronics.
- If you need extra support during a power cut, for example if you require electricity for vital medical equipment, you should enrol on your local Distribution Network Operator’s Priority Services Register, to ensure you’re assisted first during a power cut.
- Keep a landline corded phone that you can plug in to make essential calls. These don’t require electricity to run.
- Boil water in advance of a scheduled power outage or forecasted storm and store it in flasks.
- Keep fridge and freezer doors closed and place a blanket over the appliance to keep its contents cooler longer. If food defrosts in a switched off fridge or freezer, bin it. Eating items that have thawed and then been refrozen can be dangerous.
- If you’re using candles inside, be careful: always keep lit candles within sight; away from anything flammable, including furniture, bedding, carpets and books; and out of the reach of children and pets.
- If your heating cut out, stay warm by bundling under blankets and donning extra clothing.
- Check and see if your neighbours’ are safe, especially elderly or vulnerable ones.
Clearly, we all hope that we don’t have to put any of these measures into practice but just in case and please keep well and stay safe.