You probably know what it feels like to be suddenly left in the dark – whether because of storm, fire, or technical issues. In Australia, these sorts of power outages generally only last a few hours, but they may last for days – even weeks – if the problem is severe. 

Most of us rely on our electricity for everything from heating to cooking to using the internet. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re always ready, just in case. Here are some things you’ll need to consider.

Assemble an emergency kit

When the lights go out, the last thing you want is to be running around a dark house looking for essentials. It helps to get a kit together and make sure everyone in the household knows where it is stored. The NSW State Emergency Service has recommended some handy things to include:

  • Torch with spare batteries
  • Candles and waterproof matches
  • First aid kit (with supplies necessary for your household)
  • Copy of any Home Emergency Plans
  • Waterproof bag for valuables
  • Important papers and emergency contact numbers

If you live in an area that experiences frequent or prolonged outages, you may also want to consider a portable generator. 

Your food and water supply

If your water supply relies on electric-powered pumps, it could be an idea to have adequate bottled water on hand1. For cooking, a small camping stove or barbeque can come to the rescue – but remember, these generally aren’t safe to use inside.

With perishable food in your fridge only keeping for up to four hours2, before it becomes unsafe to eat after a power outage, some home insurance policies will allow you to claim for spoiled food. Check your policy documents for details.

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Things you should know

1 The Emergency Preparedness website is jointly supported by the Victorian and Australian Governments.

2 Victoria State Government - Health.Vic ‘Food safety during power outages

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.

Home and Car Insurance is provided by CommInsure, a registered business name of Commonwealth Insurance Limited ABN 96 067 524 216 AFSL 235030 (CIL). CIL is a wholly owned non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 (The Bank). The Bank does not guarantee the obligations or performance of CIL or the products it offers. Where we refer to 'we', 'us' and 'our', we mean CIL. This information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this you should consider the appropriateness to your circumstances.

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