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Load shedding, community living and risk

Load shedding is here and likely to be with us for a while. Load shedding brings with it a higher risk situation for owners, both in respect of the buildings and common areas.
Trustees should take extra precautions to prevent loss or injury during times of scheduled load shedding.
During these times, the higher risk scenario is anticipated (as it is scheduled), therefore it can be argued that the dangers are not “unforeseen” in the eyes of insurers. Trustees should take preventative measures.

The risk of fire is higher. Where appliances are left on, the risk of fire is great – for example hairdryers on beds or near curtains, stoves, heaters that are left on, etc.
Electric fences, security systems, etc. are often down and pose a higher risk for a crime incident.
Lights not working in stairwells and uneven paved areas increases the chances of a slip and fall injury.

Some tips from the Addsure team:

>Build an emergency kit and make a community communications plan, e.g. purchase gas camping lights, torches, lamps for stairwells, etc.

>If possible during blackouts, light up one particular stairwell or pathway. Make the residents aware of the route to use in the event a power outage at night. Even during the day, many inside areas usually lit artificially, become dark and dangerous.

>Know where the manual release lever of your automatic garage door or gate opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors and gates can be heavy, so remember that you may need help to lift it.

>Higher risk areas may need more security guards or to change the roles of the present security guards.

>Keep a key to your home or common property gate with you if you regularly use the garage or gate as the primary means of entering your premises; in case the garage door or gate will not open.

>Use only flashlights for emergency lighting. Avoid using candles during a power outage due to extreme risk of fire.

>Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics that was in use when the power went out. Power may return with momentary surges that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.

>Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.

>Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator.

>Leave one light on so that you’ll know when your power returns.

>Do not contact Emergency Services for information, call only to report a life-threatening emergency. Use the phone for life-threatening emergencies only.

>Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.

>Remember that equipment such as ATMs and elevators may not work during a power outage. Check that nobody is stuck inside and if so, do not force open the doors unless an emergency. Call the elevator company to release passengers.

>Check what hazards are most likely within the environment or around common property, e.g. lighting deficiencies, and put a plan in place.

>Get advice from a licensed professional, such as an electrician, if you as an owner or body corporate are considering obtaining a generator. Trustees need to deal with generators, as withholding or not allowing the use of these on common property, in exclusive use areas or on balconies during outages would be unreasonable. Perhaps rules need to be amended to cater for generators.

>Generators should always be used outdoors; never operate it inside, including in the basement or garage. Do not hook up a generator directly to your home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator. This is another good reason for trustees to take a leading role in this regard.

Trustees have a duty of care around the common property and the prevention of loss or damage is a responsibly that cannot be ignored.


Author : Mike Addison
Contact Addsure – The Leaders in Sectional Title Insurance – to get fit and proper advice from advisors who understand sectional title. Contact us in Johannesburg on (011) 704-3858; in Durban on (031) 459-1795 and in Cape Town on (021) 551-5069