Contingency Planning for Powercuts

Dementia Care
January 19, 2023

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The Electricity Supply Emergency Code (ESE Code) has stated that the UK could face power cuts which could be rolling three-hour disconnections known as blackouts. Consumers would be given a day’s notice that they would lose power. The frequency of any power cuts remains undetermined.

For vulnerable service users who live in their own homes this could prove problematic. Read our suggested tips on how to provide your service and help keep people safe in the event of power cuts.

Time of care provision

  • Consider changing the time you provide your care if appropriate, to coincide with when the power is on so that you can complete tasks. This may mean it could be safer for service users to have earlier bedtime visits as a temporary measure (as it is safer that providing care in the dark)

Toileting

  • If your service user has a commode, consider leaving this at a right angle to their chair or bed (where ever they are likely to spend their time for the length of the power cut) to save unnecessary trips to the bathroom in the dark with a torch

Lighting

  • All customers to have working torches or lanterns and spare batteries
  • Do not use candles

Airflow mattress

  • Airflow mattresses have female/male connectors that need to be joined immediately to create a sealed unit and ensure no air is escaping. Some mattresses have valves/caps that can be used to seal the air inside the mattress

Refrigeration

  • Record the time the power outage began – if possible
  • Minimise refrigeration opening

Freezers

  • Keep freezers closed
  • Discard food that has completely thawed

Hot water

  • Prepare flasks of hot water earlier in the day so that if you attend whilst there is a power cut you can offer a hot drink or have warm water for washing hands and face
  • Only heat up a small amount of water on a natural gas or propane appliance, and only if absolutely necessary

Heat

  • Conserve body heat by dressing service users warmly in layers and using blankets
  • Use 3 layers of breathable fabrics – base, middle and outer layer – particularly with a service user who is less able physically and does not generate as much heat by moving around

Telephones

  • Keep mobile phone fully charged

Food

  • Keep a supply of unperishable food close to hand

Laptops/Tablet

  • If your service user has a laptop or tablet that they use keep it fully charged, so that in the event of a blackout they have a source of entertainment

Useful telephone numbers

National Gas Helpline

If you have or suspect a gas leak or loss of gas supply, call the National Gas Helpline on 0800 111 999 (24 hours, 7 days a week).

National Power Cut Helpline

If you have or suspect an electrical power cut, call the National Power Cut Helpline on 105 (24 hours, 7 days a week). You will be able to notify them of the need for the service user to be on the Priority Service Register.

Emergency numbers for electricity distributors

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