As the grid power supply to SMBI is a dual redundant overhead feed from around Yatala to the south end of Russell Island, then a single overhead feed across to NSI, and underwater lines from Russell Island to Karragarra Island, then to Macleay Island and across to Lamb Island, we’re more likely to be affected by power outages than many areas on the mainland.
Everyone on SMBI needs to prepare for power outages that may last for more than just a few hours.
There are many reasons why you might experience a power outage in your area – from planned maintenance on the network to unexpected outages due to severe weather, car accidents, high winds, hot weather, wildlife or technical issues.
Keeping customers informed regarding outages and expected restoration times is as important to us as it is to you.
Preparing for Power Outages
Please first review the information in the General Disaster Preparedness section.
In addition to the General Disaster Preparedness information, there are some simple things that can be done to ensure you are as prepared as you can be for when we lose power on SMBI.
Food – Ensure you have enough non-perishable food that can be safely eaten uncooked. Obviously a fruit and/or vegetable garden will help a lot here, too. There is information on cooking in the General Disaster Preparedness section. Please see the information on this page on “Refrigerated/Frozen Foods” to ensure you are consuming foods that are safe during a power outage.
Hygiene – Whilst cold showers may strengthen the constitution, a boiled kettle poured into a tub with some cold water and soap will allow for sponge baths until power is restored.
Medications – If you have any medications that need to be kept cold, then it is strongly recommended that you have a backup source of power that can drive, at a minimum, your fridge/freezer.
Solar Power – Many grid-connected solar power systems will fail to work when the grid power has failed, and this even includes some systems that have battery storage. Check with a trustworthy solar installer to see what you can do to be able to use your solar and/or batteries during a grid outage.
Battery or hand crank radio – Both ABC Radio Brisbane (612 AM) and Bay FM (100.3 FM) are used to give out information on current disaster and emergency situations. Battery radios are good as long as you have a supply of spare batteries (or can recharge from a UPS or generator) and hand crank radios are good for the arm muscles and also for those times when there is no other electrical supply available.
Use any refrigerated and frozen foods first. Opening fridge/freezer doors as little as possible will result in food items lasting longer. It is recommended that once a food product has been removed from the fridge it is consumed rather than returned – this will limit the amount of times doors are opened, and preserve the remaining food for longer. Read more at the Australian Institute of Food Safety.
In an unopened fridge, foods will remain safe for up to 4 hours.
In an unopened freezer, foods will remain safe for up to 24 hours.
If you know of an impending power outage, freezing some 3/4 filled bottles of water will help keep the freezer cold, and some frozen bottles can also be placed in the fridge compartment to prolong the time the food remains at a safe temperature.
If in doubt, throw it out.
Keeping your mobile phone charged and turned on at all times will ensure you are more easily able to be contacted should this be necessary. This is very handy for your friends and family to contact you, but also for you to be able to receive government alert notifications.
There are two ways government can contact people in the case of an emergency:
- By using the national Emergency Alert system which will SMS mobile phones and voice message landline phones in a geographical area when a serious emergency situation is taking place.
- By using the Redland City Council Opt-In Notification system – you can sign up to this from the Redland Coast Disaster Dashboard and clicking on the blue Opt-In Notifications button and filling in your details.
Using candles is not recommended due to the fire risk they pose. LED torches are available at an affordable price, and keeping a supply of suitable batteries on hand will ensure they work when called upon.
There are torches available that use rechargeable 18650 cells, and these should last a lot longer than a couple of AA cells. An number of such torches can be found on eBay for under $25. A rather good option, though not particularly cheap at $126 (but there is a $35 discount code: 8RDSRX2T, available at time of publishing this page), is the BLF LT1 rechargeable camping lantern that can be found here on Amazon.
Another good option is a head-mounted LED torch which will leave both hands free – here is are some examples found on eBay, and one from Bunnings.