Johannesburg - When the load shedding stages increases, so does the frequency of the rotational power cuts, which have an impact in the increased risk of damage to electronic items due to power surges, fires and crime.
Head of Personal Lines Underwriting at Santam Attie Blaauw said 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 and dips, as well as the increased crime-related risks as a result of faulty security systems,” said Blaauw.
Blaauw provided things to consider to mitigate against risks that may be caused by power cuts, such as making use of surge protection.
“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,” he said.
Blaauw added that people must ensure that their alarm system is in a working condition and the backup battery is fully functional to provide power to the system in the event of load shedding.
“Keep a torch in your car if you arrive home at night during a power outage. Most smartphones have a built-in torch or torch apps which come in handy during unexpected power outages,” he said.
South Africans were also encouraged to save emergency contact information such as the fire department, police and/or medical services and friends and/or family and insurance information on their phone but also keep a paper copy safe and accessible.
“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,” Blaauw said.
He added that people should get a small LP gas bottle and lamp as it gives good quality lighting for a large area and can also be used for cooking and boiling water. Blaauw said it was also a good idea to keep hot water in a thermal flask so that people can make hot drinks and freeze emergency water to keep food cold.
“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,” he said.
He added that people should always back up data in case of a hard drive crash or unforeseen electrical fault.