Black-outs are common in Cape Town and often come unannounced or with little warning. Accidents happen and it is important for you to have these most important items and services available to you in an emergency. You cannot be without the following.
- A fire extinguisher; it is small enough for you to handle and put out a fire before it spreads and becomes dangerous. Have one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom.
- Homeowners and personal liability insurance to cover an accident on your property; geyser leaks or a burst pipe. Know where to go to the tap that turns off the water. This is usually outside the house.
- Pet insurance and food for your dogs. Animal insurance is often neglected until the pet needs emergency surgery for a tumour or something else.
- Aspirin for those headaches which start in the middle of the night and you suffer for three or four days from a migraine or tension headache; keep the aspirin in a safe place.
- Enough electricity on the meter to cover you for at least two or three days if there is a blackout in the neighbourhood.
- You also need a lamp or a lantern and candles and a small gas stove on which to cook food or make a pot of tea. Blackouts are common in the Cape area and there should always be fresh water available in the house.
- A big drum of rain water to wash clothes. Use the dirty water from the washing to flush the toilet; there will be no running water when the main tap is off. A kettle filled with fresh water also ensures that you can make something hot to drink.
- Have ten tins of canned food in the cupboard and a TIN opener with which to open the cans.
- Have bandages, ointments and medication on hand. If someone has asthma and needs oxygen, always have these life-saving items on hand. We all know of Professor Chris Barnard, the first doctor to do open heart surgery; he had asthma, could not get to his pump on time and died. There are many ways to protect yourself and your family. Ensure you take the proper measures in an emergency.