There can be nothing more picturesque than a winter landscape with big, fl u y snowflakes falling silently to the ground. However, winter can also cause some headaches in the form of power outages caused by freezing rain, sleet storms or high winds, which can damage power lines. With a few simple steps you can be prepared for an unexpected outage thanks to Mother Nature.
EMERGENCY KIT SUPPLIES
Two litres of drinking water per day, per person is recommended.
Pack non-perishable canned goods and other items such as crackers, peanut butter, nuts and dried fruit. If you include canned goods be sure to throw in a manual can opener or Swiss Army knife.
FIRST AID KIT
CANDLES OR GLOW STICKS
Make sure to have a wind-up or battery operated radio. Radios are useful to follow newscasts of power outage breakdown.
CLOTHING AND BLANKETS
MAGAZINES OR GAMES TO OCCUPY LITTLE ONES
DURING AN OUTAGE
• If you experience a power outage and look to your wood burning fi replace for heat have the chimney cleaned every fall to eliminate creosote build-up which could ignite and cause a fi re.
• According to the Government of Canada, when experiencing a power outage in your home, fi rst check whether the outage is limited to your residence. If your neighbours’ power is still on, check your circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If the problem is not a breaker or a fuse, check the service wires leading to the house. If they are obviously damaged or on the ground, stay at least 10 meters back and notify your electric supply authority. Keep the number along with other emergency numbers near your telephone.
• If there’s a power outage, turn off all appliances and electronic equipment to prevent a power surge when the power comes back on. Also turn your home heating system to a minimum temperature, power is more easily restored when there isn’t a heavy load on the system. This includes turning off all lights except for one or two to indicate when the power returns.
• Don’t open your freezer unless it is absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door remains closed.
• The Government of Canada says to avoid using charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment or home generators indoors. They give off carbon monoxide and can cause life threatening health problems. If using candles, don’t leave lit candles out unattended and extinguish them before going to sleep to prevent fi res.
• If you have a home generator, ensure you’ve read the manufacturers guidelines for use. A back-up generator may only be connected to your home’s electrical system through an approved transfer panel and switch that has been installed by a qualified electrician. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet as serious injury can result when the current produced by the home generator is fed back into the electrical lines, and transformed to a higher voltage.
ONCE THE POWER IS BACK ON
• If you’ve experience a power outage longer than 24-36 hours check your food supplies for signs of spoilage. Food in the freezer that’s begun to defrost needs to be either cooked or thrown out. A helpful tip from the Government of Canada is to keep a bag of ice cubes in your freezer, once the power is back on if the ice has melted and refrozen there’s a good chance your food has spoiled.
• Reset clocks, automatic timers, alarms and any other appliances or electronics that may have been affected.
• Restock your emergency kit as soon as possible in the event there is another power outage.