In Queensland, where sunshine is abundant and storms are a common occurrence, power outages can happen unexpectedly. Whether it’s due to extreme weather conditions, maintenance work, or electrical faults, losing power in your body corporate property can be inconvenient and even pose safety risks. Knowing how to respond to such situations is crucial for residents and property managers alike. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to take when the power goes out in your Queensland body corporate property.
- Stay Calm and Check the Scope
The first thing to do when the power goes out is to remain calm. Power outages are usually temporary and manageable. Before taking any further steps, assess the situation:
- Check if the outage is isolated to your property or if it affects neighbouring buildings as well.
- Verify if the outage is limited to electricity or if other utilities, such as water and gas, are affected.
- If you have a backup generator on the property, find out if it’s operational and can provide temporary power.
- Contact Your Body Corporate Manager
Communication is key during a power outage. Reach out to your body corporate manager immediately to inform them of the situation. They can coordinate necessary actions and communicate with the utility company if required. Provide as much information as possible, such as the cause of the outage, its duration, and any safety concerns.
- Ensure Safety
Safety should be your top priority during a power outage. Follow these safety guidelines:
- Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns instead of candles to prevent fire hazards.
- Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer unnecessarily to keep food from spoiling.
- Unplug sensitive electronic devices to protect them from power surges when the electricity is restored.
- If the outage lasts an extended period, consider evacuating if the property becomes unsafe or if essential services are unavailable.
- Contact the Utility Company
If the power outage is not isolated to your property, contact the local utility company. They will be able to provide information on the cause of the outage and an estimated time for restoration. Keep their contact information readily available, either in your phone or in a common area within the building.
- Check Emergency Lighting and Fire Safety Systems
Most body corporate properties are equipped with emergency lighting and fire safety systems that operate independently of the main power supply. Ensure these systems are functioning correctly, as they are vital for your safety. Regular maintenance and testing are essential to ensure their reliability during an outage.
- Inform Residents
Keep residents informed about the outage’s status and any updates from the utility company. Clear communication can help alleviate concerns and ensure everyone stays safe during the outage.
Body Corporate “Blackout Plan”
What happens in our buildings when power is lost for more than 3 hours?
Suddenly people will realise that, without electricity, there is no internet, no mobile phones, no contactless payment, no lifts and no petrol pumps.
Are you prepared both personally and as a committee to lead?
For bodies corporate some things you need to consider are:
- Building security – all doors are open, is there key access? Should we appoint a security guard?
• Garage Door – is there a manual override or battery backup? How does it work, who is trained in this procedure?
• Lift is not working, are people possibly stuck in the lift?
• No hot water, maybe no cold water either?
• How will you communicate, what you will say and who will do it?
• Ventilation fans/ air-conditioning not operating?
• Back up batteries – how long do they run for?
• Back up diesel generator – capacity, fuel?
• Turning power on, what is the start up process, especially for pumps, how will this be managed?
Every body corporate community is different and will have different needs and priorities for disaster management.
Power outages can disrupt daily life, but knowing how to respond can make a significant difference.
Staying calm, contacting your body corporate manager, ensuring safety, and communicating with the utility company are crucial steps to take when the power goes out in your property. By being prepared and proactive, you can minimise inconvenience and ensure the safety of all residents.
Other helpful blackout tips
If the outage happens during the day, the last thing you want to do is stay in your apartment with no A/C.
Take this opportunity to go to the movies, treat yourself to a coffee, or hang out anywhere with air conditioning.
If you have homework or other work to do, you can usually find free Wi-Fi at a local library or coffee shop. If you can, stay the night at a friend’s house if the outage lasts through the night.
If you have to stay put during an outage, keep cool by closing the curtains on your windows and open your front door as little as possible to keep extra heat from coming in while you wait.
What to do with your fridge?
Avoid getting food poisoning by following these tips from the Food Safety Information Council.
- Minimise opening and closing your fridge and freezer.
• Be especially cautious of foods with “use by” dates (things like deli meats and dairy products like soft cheeses) — they might be more susceptible to the growth of food-poisoning bacteria
• Keep in mind that jams and sauces (they’ll usually have a “best before” rather than “use by” date) survive warmer temperatures for longer, as will many fruits and vegetables.