What to do in case of a power outage

How to stay safe during power outages

  • The most important thing to do in a power outage is: Keep calm
  • Ask your neighbours, caretaker or look out the window. If your house/apartment is the only one without lights, check whether a circuit breaker or the residual-current device (RCD) is OFF or whether fuses are broken. If necessary, replace the fuses with new ones or switch on the circuit breaker or the RCD switch on again. Unplug/switch off devices which are clearly not working.
  • If other houses are also affected, call your electricity supplier's fault hotline.
  • Keep in mind that all devices that are supplied with power are not operational. Your heating may also be affected.
  • Use battery-powered or accu-powered devices sparingly (mobile phones, torches).
  • Disconnect sensitive devices such as computers from the mains as they could be damaged when the power comes on again.
  • Switch off electrical appliances that could be dangerous when switched on again.
  • Turn on a battery-powered radio: People are informed by radio (ORF) in the event of large-scale interruptions. Tip: Car radios work and mobile phones often have radio reception.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer closed when possible in order to maintain the cold temperature.
  • Switch off the engine immediately in garages, as the ventilation system may not work.
  • Avoid non-urgent car journeys as traffic lights and traffic control systems do not work.
  • If the heating fails, never try to heat your apartment with the gas stove. There is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not use the oven as a source of heat. Note: Non-electric powered gas appliances such as individual gas stoves or tankless water heaters are still operational.
  • Switch on a lamp to see whether the power is working again.

What to do when the power is back on

  • It can take a while until everyday life gets going again after a long power outage. You will be able to tell when the power is back on if switched on lamps are working again. First, check again if all other devices are switched off. Switched on hotplates or irons can become dangerously hot. Wait a while before switching on other devices.
  • Check that perishable foods are still safe to eat after a prolonged power outage. Be especially careful with fish, meat and poultry.
  • Check clocks with mains connection and reset if necessary.
  • Test important devices: Refrigerator, alarm systems, heating, etc.
  • If your gas heater does not work, do not tamper with the gas heater or the gas system yourself! Be patient and contact a specialist or your gas supplier's helpline.

Further information

Blackout Q&A