07 April 2023

Man is becoming increasingly dependent on electricity. Without it, most electronic devices cease to function and dependence on them is increasing. Unfortunately, blackouts on the power grid are becoming more frequent, and can be caused by factors such as increased energy consumption, natural disasters or infrastructure problems.

A blackout, or complete loss of power, can occur as a result of a power grid failure. In such a situation, many people may feel helpless, not knowing what to do to survive without electricity. Therefore, it is worth ensuring that you are well prepared for such a scenario. Find out how to prepare for power cuts and what you should know about emergency power supply for your home.  

graphic depicts a city in darkness with the words Blackout

Power cuts — possible causes of a blackout

A sudden power failure and blackout can happen to you at any time. One of the most common causes of blackouts are violent weather events such as storms or gales. It is very common for power grids to be damaged then. Blackouts can also occur when power stations exceed so-called critical values, resulting in an immediate shutdown and cutting off electricity to residents in the nearby area. It is worth remembering that power outages can last for minutes, hours or even days. Disaster recovery can be time-consuming, so it is worth being well prepared for any circumstance.

Woman reading a book by torchlight and candlelight

How to survive a blackout — some valuable tips

It is very important to remain calm. The current political situation in the World, the global pandemic, as well as galloping inflation in many European countries are causing anxiety among the public. A power failure, especially one that lasts for several days, can further exacerbate this situation. However, there is no need to panic. A bit of knowledge and adequate preparation is enough to survive even a power failure lasting several days.

Glowing torch on a desk

Stock up on food and drinking water

A long-term power outage is not only associated with pervasive darkness and silence, but also with a lack of water. In the event of a major power failure, water towers will not be able to supply water to all city dwellers. It is therefore advisable to have a supply of drinking water at home in case of a blackout. Dry foods such as pasta and rice need water to prepare them for consumption. In addition to bottled liquids, it is a good idea to fill the bathtub or sink in the kitchen or bathroom with water for washing and toileting. It is also important to stock up not only on dry provisions, but also on ready-to-eat products without prior processing, such as bars, nuts, preserves or honey.


Prepare alternative sources of light 

Various types of candles or lanterns will work perfectly. However, when using them, be careful. It is well known that an unattended candle flame can lead to a serious fire. Therefore, a better choice would be any type of battery-powered torches or rechargeable lamps. This way, a blackout will not frighten you and you will be able to function fairly normally even after dark.

Family preparing for Blackout

Be sure to stock up your first aid kit

Above all, stock up on a variety of bandages as well as painkillers and antipyretics. If the power failure lasts for several days or longer, it may not be possible to buy medicines or bandages from a pharmacy. It is also a good idea to stock up on vitamins and medications that you take on a regular basis.


Withdraw cash 

During a blackout, it will be impractical to pay by card or withdraw a larger sum from an ATM. Moreover, it is likely that during this time, many people will go to the bank in person to withdraw money from their account. If you have the right amount of cash at home, you will avoid standing in queues and problems buying food or essentials for the house.

Man pouring tea from a thermos in the winter

Don't forget to fill your car up

In an emergency situation such as a prolonged power outage, it is essential to have a full tank of fuel. If you have the opportunity, stash a few full canisters of petrol in your garage or cellar. This way, you will be able to transport yourself to another location without any problems if the need arises. What's more, you can stay warm or charge your phone in your car. It is also worth remembering to buy a suitable car charger.


Buy warmer clothes, catalytic and chemical heaters

You never know when a power failure will occur. If the power goes out during the winter and your home is not heated by a fireplace in, you will most likely feel the temperature drop quickly. It is therefore essential that you prepare thermal clothing, warm blankets and other thick clothing for yourself and your loved ones. In extreme conditions, portable radiators for different types of fuel and chemical heaters that operate without electricity will be invaluable.

Portable power station charging mobile devices

Emergency power — What equipment will come in handy during a blackout?

Emergency power supply is a key aspect of blackout preparations. It will allow you to keep some of your electronic devices working, which can be crucial in the event of a prolonged power cut. It is advisable to plan and prepare accordingly, so that you can use emergency power effectively and safely during a blackout.

First and foremost, it is worth investing in portable power stations. These are devices which will allow a large number of household appliances such as a fridge or washing machine to operate freely. They will also allow you to charge mobile phones, tablets or laptops. When choosing a mobile power station, it is worth paying attention to its capacity, i.e. the length of time for which it can supply energy, its compatibility with the devices we plan to connect and the way in which they are charged. Some of them allow charging by means of portable solar panels. In this way, if the battery is discharged, we can easily replenish the energy, even when we do not have constant access to grid power. It is also good practice to regularly check the state of charge of the batteries and replace them if necessary.

Woman reading a book by torchlight and woman using a phone connected to a powerbank in a dark room

Another solution is to use UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). This is a device that allows power to be maintained in the event of a power grid failure. They are used for devices such as computers, routers, gas heaters or boilers. UPSs are powered from the mains and automatically switch to battery power in the event of a power loss. This ensures that, in the event of a power failure, the devices connected to the UPS have continuous access to power, avoiding data loss or damage to devices.

Any type of battery, rechargeable battery or generator will also certainly come in handy during a prolonged power outage. Powerbanks will also prove useful. Powerbanks are small devices that can be easily stored in a pocket or backpack. However, it is worth bearing in mind that powerbanks have their limitations and cannot fully replace portable power stations or UPS units. They have a much smaller battery capacity than power stations, which means that powerbanks also need to be recharged after several charges.

A man with a torch switches on a fuse in a switchboard

When are we at risk of a blackout?

In reality, a blackout cannot be completely predicted. This type of large and, above all, long-lasting interruption of energy supply is usually caused by random factors. It is often due to the failure of the electricity system, but it can also have other causes, such as severe storms, fires or problems with transformers. Blackouts can threaten anywhere, but some regions are more vulnerable to this type of situation. In particular, these are areas with large population centres and where severe weather such as hurricanes or tornadoes occur frequently. However, in most countries around the World, services are adequately prepared to restore power quickly. Nevertheless, due to the dynamic situation not only in Europe, but also worldwide, it is advisable to be prepared for any circumstance, including a major power failure such as a blackout.