The British are famed for their obsession with talking about the weather and this is, apparently, because we have ‘so much of it’. Over the last week or so, however, it has not just been the British that have been on the receiving end of harsh climatic conditions.
Whilst in the UK we have had snow and freezing temperatures, much of Europe has suffered even more extreme winter weather. Meanwhile, in Australia, an unprecedented heat wave has contributed to fires which have razed vast tracts of the country.
As the first flakes fell in Britain, it seemed only minutes before widespread power failures were reported. By the end of the first day’s snow, many thousands of homes and businesses across the country were without mains electricity - 10,000 homes in South Wales alone.
In New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, many thousands of homes and businesses lost their power due to substation problems, adding to the disruption and distress caused by the bush fires.
So, it seems that – following 2012’s extensive outages on the US Eastern Seaboard – the developed world’s assumption that heat, light and power are permanently available at the flick of a switch may be a little over-optimistic.
Preparing for loss of power is something too few of us – individuals, businesses and governments alike – take seriously, but not taking the necessary action can have serious, and potentially fatal, consequences.
One step that can be taken is to invest in alternative technologies which can provide back-up. Freeplay’s wind-up products provide access to light, information and communication, and can charge essential domestic devices such as mobile phones, even when there is no access to mains electricity.
For a modest outlay, government agencies could keep their citizens informed about where to access the help and support they need, businesses could update their staff and customers on when power supplies are expected to be resumed and individuals could stay in touch with families and friends, use safe and reliable lighting and listen out for the latest developments.
All it takes is a commitment to improve the current state of affairs, investment in the appropriate technology and awareness of Freeplay and our products. So please spread the word and help bring power to the people, even when the power goes down.