Home security and safety during a power cut

Posted March 19th, 2024 by SimpliSafe

If you ever find your home in the dark, which safety precautions should you take? Here's everything you need to know about home security during a power cut.

Original publish date: 5th January 2022

Last updated: 19th March 2024

Not only can power cuts be really annoying, but they may also affect your home security and safety. When you lose your electricity and WiFi, this could impact the effectiveness of your home security system (although with SimpliSafe we do have backups). Plus, if you’ve lost power due to extreme weather conditions, the loss of heating and air conditioning in your home could lead to discomfort or even danger.

But what can you do in the event of a power cut? Although there’s not much you can do during a power outage, there are plenty of ways to prepare for them and keep you and your family safe. Keep reading to discover our top 10 tips for preparing for a power cut.

Why do power cuts happen?

The National Grid warns that the risk of power cuts to homes this winter has increased as a result of the energy crisis, reaffirming the idea that people should prepare themselves in the event that this does happen. Power cuts can happen for a whole host of reasons, whether it’s extreme weather conditions, during maintenance, something going wrong at the power station, or simply a high power demand. Luckily, there are various steps you can take to ensure that your home is kept as safe and secure as possible when your power goes out. 

1. Check your home security system during a power cut

Your SimpliSafe home security system comes equipped with a backup sim and rechargeable battery supply to ensure that the Base Station has power for up to 24 hours, so your home is still protected. The system operates on a cellular network and will automatically switch to battery power, meaning that it’s still able to operate and keep your home secure, even in the event your WiFi goes down. 

2. Switch off all electrical appliances 

During a power cut, check around your house to make sure that all electrical appliances that shouldn’t be left unattended are turned off, such as your cooker, grill, and heated hair appliances. This will prevent any damage by an electrical surge when the power comes back. This is also another reminder to make sure that you turn off all of your electronics before heading out, in case a power cut occurs when you’re away from home. The one thing you could leave on, however, is a singular light that will allow you to see when your power comes back.

3. Limit device use

Limiting your electrical device usage during a power cut is also another factor to consider, as saving your battery life will allow you to contact neighbours or your energy supplier to check for updates. Boredom could cause you to check more frequently, so make sure you don’t fall victim to this and only use devices for emergencies, finding alternative ways to stay occupied.

4. Check on your neighbours

Be a good neighbour by checking in on those nearby to find out whether they too are experiencing a power cut and if they need any assistance. It’s also a good indication to see if your problem can be fixed. If they don’t have power, there’s unfortunately not much you can do other than contact your energy supplier. However, if they do have power, there may be an issue with your own supply; be sure to check your fuse box.

5. Find a way to charge your phone (and other devices)

Even if you don’t deem a power cut to be likely, the possibility is always there. By planning in advance and ensuring that you have alternative power sources, such as a portable charger or power bank, you won’t have to limit your electrical device usage as much. Plus, if an emergency does occur during a power cut, you can feel rest assured that you’ll be able to get in contact with someone. 

6. Make sure you have torches, batteries and candles

In case of emergency, remember to stock up on basic supplies that will keep you safe during a power cut. Always have some candles and matches on hand, making sure that any electrical torches are fully charged; stock up on some spare batteries too in case you need them. You’ll want to make sure that you and your family are able to navigate your way through the house without fear of tripping hazards.

7. Look after your food

This isn’t so much of an issue during short power cuts, but if the power is off for many hours, this can cause the food in your fridge or freezer to spoil. According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), your fridge can keep food safe for up to four hours if it loses power, while your freezer could preserve food for up to 48 hours. However, opening the doors will make it harder for your fridge and freezer to maintain safe temperatures, so it’s best to keep them closed as much as possible during a lengthy power cut.

If you’re going to be without power for a long period of time, you’ll need access to non-perishable food items so you don’t need to rely on your fridge or freezer. This will include canned and dried goods, such as soup and beans. Stock up on these items if you’re anticipating a power cut or extreme weather.

8. Get blankets and thick clothing

Another thing you could do if you expect bad weather (such as heavy snow during winter) is make sure you have access to plenty of warm clothing and blankets. To keep warm when you don’t have access to heating, you can also close your curtains and close off unused rooms in your home to trap heat in a more concentrated area (e.g., a communal area like your living room).

9. Make sure you have backup power for medical equipment

One of the biggest dangers presented by power cuts is that they can disable essential medical equipment, such as stair lifts and CPAP machines. Most of these devices should have a battery back-up in case of an emergency, but make sure you check this. Stair lifts should have a manual release handle to return you to the ground floor if you’re in the stair lift when the power goes out. 

10. Fill your car with petrol

With most power cuts, you can simply wait at home until the power returns in a short amount of time. However, if you’ve lost power for longer and you need to leave, it’s important that your car already has at least half a tank of petrol. Many service stations can’t pump fuel during a power cut, so you won’t be able to fill up until power returns to the area. If you know a power cut might be coming, fill up your car and make sure there’s a way for you to get it out if you have an electric garage door. You won’t be able to open these doors if you don’t have electricity, so check if there’s a way to manually open them.

Frequently asked questions about power cut security and safety

Will my house alarm go off in a power cut?

If your home security system is working properly, a power cut shouldn’t trigger a full-scale alarm activation. However, if your backup battery is dead or faulty, this can cause the alarm to go off and your system to stop working properly. Therefore, you should check the battery regularly to make sure it still works – this will keep your home safe during a power failure.

Here at SimpliSafe, all of our sensors are battery-powered and our Base Station has a built-in rechargeable backup battery. This will provide power for up to 24 hours during a power outage.

How do I reset my alarm after a power cut?

If your system is working correctly, it should automatically reset once power is restored. However, if your alarm started beeping during a power cut (usually due to a faulty battery), you may need to disconnect the battery and reconnect it once power is restored. If you’re still having issues with your security system after a power cut, contact our support team straight away.

What is the first thing you do when the power goes out?

The first thing you should do is confirm that there isn’t just a fault with your own electricity. Ask your neighbours if they’ve also experienced a power cut – if their electricity is working fine, you should check your fuse box. If the whole area is without power, you should call 105 to contact your distribution network operator and notify them of the failure.

Next, you should turn off all appliances in case there’s an electrical surge when the power comes back. If it’s dark, you could leave a light on to help you see when your electricity returns.

For more advice on optimising your home security, have a chat with our team of professionals today. Create a system that’s tailored to your needs, and ensure that both you and your family are protected at all times with SimpliSafe home security.