Article Headline

Tips on how to live in the dark

12 December 2014, 10:50 am

You should be bracing yourself; you are going to be living in the dark for at least the next two years. There is nothing that is getting your day off to a bad start like a power cut that is leaving all the traffic lights on your route to work out of order. Tozi Mthethwa, eThekwine municipal spokesperson has got some advice on how to make commuting simpler, no matter where you are in the country and you are dealing with flashing traffic lights.

According to Mthethwa, it is vital to observe Eskom’s load shedding timetable so that you know what to anticipate. Making use of the timetable is important to allow people to make emergency plans and that it is crucial to try and work around the load shedding course. Mthethwa advised travelers to give themselves up to an hour of extra traveling time every day, to plan their routes to and from work to stay away from the blackout time. They should treat every faulty traffic light as a four-way stop; avoid the city centre and other crowded commercial areas throughout load shedding hours and if possible to travel outside of peak times.

When the lights go out, it is vital to know if your local clinic or hospital will be able to care for you. All public and private hospitals in South Africa are theoretically to have working generator on site. These are expected to be kicking in whenever there is a power failure. Sadly, not all do, some hospitals is postponing scheduled operations when the power goes out. If you have an operation that is scheduled, check with the hospital whether the operation will go on as planned. If your hospital is one of those without a generator, you might have to reschedule.

Emergency operations are never postponed except if a patient in a more critical condition has arrived before you and has been taken into theatre. Should the load shedding be happening throughout an operation and the generator did not kick in, most doctors will finish their work by using what is available. Even if your weakness does not need a hospital, it is crucial to be prepared for blackouts at home. You should keep your first aid kid close at hand, lots of household accidents is happening in the dark. Should you be asthmatic, make sure that the nebulizers is charged and those who are using oxygen should keep a backup oxygen tank so that they can breathe easy when everything goes dark.

The secretary of the Security Association of SA, Tony Botes, stated that there are several ways for individuals, businesses and people who are living in complexes to deal with security problems for when there is a blackout. He suggested the following:

• In residential areas, make sure that there is sufficient alternative lighting like lanterns, torches and batteries. Check your alarm battery, if it is necessary replace it and purchase a spare one or two. Install solar-powered security lightning that is operating on a closeness sensor, if possible with a link to an audio alarm inside the house.

• With businesses, make sure that there is a load shedding emergency plan with your security company. You should make sure that the security personnel have got enough batteries for radio equipment and torches. Check your alarm battery, if it is necessary replace it and purchase a spare one or two. Make sure that the electric fencing, guardhouse, perimeter lightning and the alarm system have the adequate back up power. Stock up on your batteries and gas cylinders frequently. If the access gate is motorized, you should have a good padlock and chain available to secure the gate throughout power outages, for some systems are default to open if they are not connected to power.

• In complexes, a mixture of the advice given to the residents and business, however with an emphasis on common property installations like security lightning, electric fencing, internal lightning and motorized gates.

Nothing more will kill your festive mood like all the food in your fridge has gone bad due to a power cut. There are a couple of ways to make sure that you are saving money and don’t have to throw away food before the due date. For starters, you should increase the number of nonperishable items and dry food that you are buying from the grocery store. For example this also includes dried fruit, canned food and bread. Rather don’t keep on opening your fridge anxiously to see whether the light has come back on while you were not paying attention. This will help to keep your cold food fresh for longer.

If you can’t picture your life without your morning cup of coffee or tea, rather boil water and keep it in a large flask so that nobody have to deal with your caffeine withdrawal. This is also important for the families who are trying to keep a little baby happy and fed throughout power cuts. You can easily heat a baby bottle with hot water at hand. If you are expected to be in the dark for hours, rather cook any consumable food that you have in the fridge and freeze it. Normally, freezers stay cold for at least 24 hours so that your food has a better chance of surviving. And of course, there is always the good South African standby: a good braai and torch.

Read full article on City Press