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Australia’s wild weather: What to do when the power goes out

This summer, Australia has been rocked by wild weather. From devastating bushfires to storms and damaging floods, the country has seen thousands left without power, homes destroyed and both human and wildlife casualties.

The safety of your family should always be the number one priority. Being prepared with a family emergency survival plan that is practiced and well known will allow you to stay calm and know what to do in the event that you do need to leave quickly.

If you keep your car in the garage, your garage door opener should be included in your emergency survival plan to ensure that if you do have to evacuate, you can do so easily, safely and with as little stress as possible.

Start by checking to see if your garage door is equipped with a manual release cord and battery backup system. Homeowners should familiarise themselves with the manual release cord’s location, how to use it and ensure that it is in good working order – it shouldn’t be frayed and should still have the plastic handle at the end of the cord.

How to operate a manual release cord:
1. Pull the red cord down firmly once to manually release the door’s locking mechanism. The opener will make a clicking noise.

2.      Walk over to the door to push it up manually. Do not try to pull the door using the manual release cord; it will snap under the load.

3.      Take care when operating the manual release when the door is open, as it may fall rapidly due to weak or broken springs.

4.      When power returns or it is safe to do so, re-engage the opener by pulling the red release cord down firmly.

While most automated garage doors can be manually opened in the event of a power failure using the manual release cord to disconnect the door, it’s an added and unnecessary stress that homeowners don’t need in an emergency situation.

The Commander Elite, Commander Extreme and the SilentDrive Elite Garage Door Openers are compatible with Battery Backup, which allows you to operate your garage door as normal should the power go out. The Commander Ultimate comes with integrated Battery Backup already installed.

Regular maintenance of your garage door opener is the second part of your survival plan.

Undertaking a quick reversal test and looking for signs of wear and tear each month will allow you to be confident that your garage door is working at its best, at all times.

To be bushfire safe this season:

  • Conduct a monthly safety reversal test: Place an object 40mm above the base of the garage door’s path and set it to close. If the door doesn’t reverse in less than a second (or two seconds when Safety Beams are installed) when it touches the object, contact a dealer to assess it.
  • Install battery backup: Battery Backup ensures that homeowners can safely access their garage, even when there’s a power failure.
  • Know your door’s safety features: Learn all the safety features of your automated garage door and read the instructions for how to manually open it in case of an emergency or power failure.

Be prepared and make your garage door opener, and its upkeep, part of your emergency survival plan.

For more information, contact Merlin on 1800 638 234.