appliances and sensitive equipment: It is always a good idea to unplug appliances or
any other sensitive equipment or electronic devices that may be vulnerable to
power surges. The list of items that could be affected include cell phones,
laptops, desktop computers, servers and LCD screens, all of which could be
badly damaged when the power comes back on due to a spike in electricity flow.
It is advisable that commercial clients install inverters to power critical
equipment such as cash registers and point of sale equipment as well as UPS protection
or surge protection on sensitive electronic equipment.2. Beware
your generator: It is
critical that generators are never used inside a home or enclosed
workplace area as the emissions can cause asphyxiation. The heat from the
generator or a faulty connection to your home’s power supply can also
cause fire damage, which would not be covered as this would likely be
deemed as negligence. Ensure that generators are installed by qualified
electricians and that they issue you with an electrical compliance certificate.
Generators that switch on automatically can also pose an increased risk
and must be carefully managed.
your alarm system:
During load shedding, alarm power packs and batteries may wear out faster,
resulting in reduced functionality. This may also cause alarm systems to
produce false alarm signals or even to malfunction altogether. Many insurance
policies require that you perform an annual or bi-annual alarm system check,
which must be logged by your security company to ensure that it is in proper
working order and that the battery is still functional. Failure to do so could
impact your claim. You should also ensure that all alarm peripherals have fresh
batteries if a wireless alarm system is being used.
reserve power: To ensure that
electric fencing and gates still work during load shedding, reserve batteries
should be installed and maintained. While reserve batteries generally last for
six to eight hours when the power goes out, load shedding dramatically
decreases a battery’s lifespan, so it is incredibly important that these are
tested or replaced, especially if the policyholder is planning to go away or
shut down over a holiday period. Backup batteries are particularly important
for commercial premises as their alarm systems typically require more power
which necessitates the use of heavy-duty batteries. Clients with stock that
requires continuous cold storage should consider installing back-up generators
with an automated system that informs them of a power outage so that mitigating
steps can be taken.
your premises: In the event that
the power goes out, homeowners and commercial building owners are advised to
ensure that their properties are locked up and adequately secured to reduce the
risk of opportunistic theft. Not only will this reduce the risk of the theft
occurring, but it will also make the claims process a lot easier in the event
that a theft or robbery occurs.
vigilant: Because the load shedding timetables
are open to the public, criminals unfortunately may see blackouts as an
opportune time to undertake illegal activities. As such, extra vigilance is
required, particularly when arriving at or leaving one’s home or commercial
premises during the evening. Keep a torch in your car should you arrive home in
the dark and need to open your perimeter security gate manually.
up your premises:
Using solar power or battery-operated lighting to light up your premises can
reduce the chance of opportunistic crime occurring. However, be sure to keep
all such items fully charged.
your insurance policies:
Policyholders need to review the wording in their policies to see what is
covered in the event of loss or damage to the contents of a home or building
during a blackout. Policyholders are advised to speak to their insurance
brokers about any additional cover that may be needed.
the load shedding schedule:
Rather switch off sensitive equipment in a managed and planned way,
particularly if you know that your area is likely to experience load shedding
at a particular time. Some equipment that uses heat in the manufacturing
process (e.g. plastic extrusion) can be damaged if not switched off properly.
Be positive and hang in there: We have been through this before, so we know what
the risks are and how to mitigate them. All we need to do now is buckle down
and execute to mitigate the impact on our lives and businesses.
Information provided courtesy of
Christelle Colman Old Mutual as it appeared in moneymarketing.co.za