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During the year there are a number of Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter weather conditions throughout Waterloo Region which could potentially cause power outages in your home, some even lasting more than 24 hours. Do you have an emergency kit ready? Find out how to prepare your Emergency Kit today!

Before the Power Goes Out:

  • Prepare an Emergency Kit and store it, include a crank or battery operated radio
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated
  • Have emergency light sources (flashlights, batteries, rechargeable flashlights) in all major rooms of your house such as the kitchen, hallways, family rooms, and bedrooms
  • Some rechargeable flashlights will automatically turn on when there is a power failure (an excellent resource for hallways and children's rooms)
  • "Glow sticks" are another safe alternative light source for children
  • Have at least one traditional (corded) telephone in your home, as most cordless models will not work during a power outage, or consider including a cell phone with an alternate method of charging like a vehicle
  • Consider a portable mobile device charger that can keep your phone charged without electricity
  • Portable stoves, lamps, and other camping equipment can be useful. BUT, it is important to store them and their fuels in a shed or garage separate from your house.  (Liquid fuels release combustible vapours). Only use equipment that is rated for indoor use such as a chafing dish.
  • If you have an electric garage door opener, make sure there is an emergency release handle in place and learn how to operate the door without power
  • Have several coolers or ice chests on hand (inexpensive Styrofoam coolers will work), and get a supply of ice for food storage in the event of a long-term power outage
  • Install surge protectors in your home to safeguard valuable electronic equipment such as computers and home entertainment systems
  • Know where to find each utility shut off - electricity, water and gas. Know how to turn each utility off, and make sure you have the proper handles in place
  • If you are on home oxygen or have any other life-sustaining equipment in your home, contact the service provider (vendor) to learn the details of their emergency contingency plan in the event of a power outage
  • Make sure you have at least one vehicle with no less than half a tank of fuel; gas pumps are electrically operated and gas stations will shut down during a power outage

 During a Power Outage:

  • First check to see if your neighbours have power. If you are the only home without electricity, check the main fuse in your electric service panel or fuse box to see if the main circuit breaker has been tripped or if a fuse has blown. If your neighbours don't have electricity either, then you know there has been a power outage in your area.
  • Get your emergency kit in case you require it
  • Outdoor and charcoal barbecues should NEVER be used indoors, as they are a fire and safety hazard, and can release deadly carbon monoxide. PLEASE HANDLE THESE CAREFULLY and according to manufacturer's instructions
  • Do not use natural gas appliances, such as stoves, for a source of heat in the home
  • Turn off all major non-essential appliances such as your electric range and washer/ dryer. Appliances and tools left switched on will start up automatically when your power is restored; turning them off prevents injury or fire
  • Do not open the freezer to check on food, as this will let the cold air out
  • Avoid opening the fridge unless necessary
  • If you leave your home during the outage, ensure your oven, stove, and all other heat producing appliances are unplugged. This minimizes the risk of fire when power is restored
  • Leave one light switch on
  • If you light candles, use candle holders and NEVER leave burning candles unattended
  • Stay informed by listening to the radio or by using the following links for more information on the power outage affecting you.

 

How Power is Restored?:

While the hydro companies do their best to ensure there are a limited number of power interruptions throughout the year, there are many events that may cause an outage that are beyond our control. When the power does go out, hydro crews are on hand to restore it.  

 

Responding to a power outage is a team effort that involves powerline technicians, customer service reps, control room and communications team.  

 When Power is Restored?:

  • Turn on only the most essential appliances first to give the electrical system a chance to stabilize. Wait 10 to 15 minutes before reconnecting other appliances
  • Check your fridge and freezer to ensure they are back on; discard any spoiled food following the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's guidelines.  Keep in mind a freezer in an unheated garage in winter will keep food cooler longer than one in a house. 
  • Don't forget to reset your clocks, timers and alarms
  • Be extra cautious if you go outside and look for possible damage to trees, buildings and the overhead wires of the electrical system
  • Always assume a downed power line is live.  There is no way to know if a downed power line is energized or not.  Stay at least 10 meters away from a downed power line or anything that is in contact with the wire.  Call 911 to report the incident
  • Replace any items from your Emergency Kit which you may have used so you are prepared for future emergencies

 Generator Safety:

  • Always read the owner's manual before operating your portable generator for back-up power
  • Generator should be installed by a licensed electrical contractor
  • Never operate an internal combustion engine inside your home, basement, garage or any other enclosed area. A generator needs a minimum of three to four feet of spacing on all sides (including the top)
  • A generator needs an unlimited supply of fresh air for proper cooling during operation
  • Properly locate the generator outdoors away from doors and windows
  • An open door or window will allow dangerous exhaust fumes to enter the building. Since combustion engines create carbon monoxide, which can be lethal, good ventilation is critical
  • Keep the generator dry and always operate it on a level surface
  • NEVER add fuel to your generator when it is running and always store additional fuel in approved gasoline containers
  • NEVER feed power from your portable generator into a wall outlet. This causes a very dangerous situation when power is restored, as it can feed directly into your generator causing severe damage to your portable generator, and cause a house fire from overloaded house wiring
  • The safe application of power to your home is achieved simply by using a quality extension cord and surge protected power strip from the generator directly to the appliance that you want to power

 Additional Resources:

 

 

Graphic of person standing in front of a question markYou Should have a least one battery-operated radio and a battery-operated flashlight in your house.  

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