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Power Outage Emergency Preparedness

Preparing for Power Outages

Reserve a special place in the house for emergency supplies. Pick somewhere easily accessible in the dark. Consider including the following in your Emergency Kit:

  • A flashlight with fresh batteries 
  • A battery operated radio 
  • Matches and candles 
  • Cell phone 
  • Extra blankets, coats, hats and gloves 
  • Plastic garbage bags 
  • First aid kit 
  • Non-perishable foods, such as canned and dried goods 
  • Bottled water 
  • Disposable tableware and cutlery 
  • Manual can openers 
  • Extra cash 
  • Extra car keys 
  • Sleeping bags 
  • Toilet paper, other personal toiletries 
  • A loud whistle (this may come in handy if you have to attract attention) 
  • Are there people with special needs? A baby, child, elderly person? Any pets? Take into account their needs and health issues, then make a plan to help them, should an outage occur.

Other things to consider and be prepared for in the event of a power outage:   

  • If someone in your home relies on electrically operated medical equipment, make sure you know what to do in the event of a power interruption. Check with your doctor or the manufacturer of the equipment.
  • Stay away from fallen wires.
    • Ice storms, high winds or fallen tree limbs can bring down powerlines. Even if a fallen wire seems dead, it can be dangerous. Please call us with the location of the fallen wires or report them to the local police immediately. 
    • If a powerline falls across your vehicle, stay inside until an emergency crew removes the line. Stepping out of your vehicle onto the ground could be fatal if the powerline is live. 
    • If you must get out because of fire, jump clear without touching the car and the ground at the same time. After jumping, move away while keeping your feet on the ground. Keep your feet together and shuffle at least 10m away from the wire. See Electrical Emergencies for more detailed information. 
  • If you have an automatic garage door opener, review your owner's manual to learn how to open it manually. 
  • Consider an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your home computer. Compact units are available that will allow you to save your computer files safely, and shut down without losing your work.   
  • Use surge protectors for all sensitive equipment. Surge protectors reduce internal surges before they reach your sensitive electronic equipment. They are available in a variety of models and you can choose from units that accommodate different numbers of plugs. They're intended to protect all kinds of sensitive electronic equipment, from office machines to entertainment systems. 
  • Know where your home’s main electrical panel is located. 
  • Know where your fuse box or circuit-breaker box is located. 
  • Know the correct sizes of any fuses needed in your home and keep spares on hand. Blown fuses must be replaced, not repaired. Do not replace a fuse with one of higher amperage. 
  • If a fuse blows, disconnect or turn off the appliance(s) you suspect may have caused the problem. 
  • Shut off the main electric switch before replacing a fuse.
  • Know how to reset a circuit breaker. After turning off or unplugging appliances on the circuit, push the switch firmly to the off position, then turn it back on. If the overload is cleared, the electricity will come back on. 
  • If your circuit breakers trip repeatedly, there could be a problem with the appliance(s) on that circuit. If the appliances are unplugged but the circuit breaker trips off again, call an electrician

 If the power is out:

  • Never use a barbeque or propane stove indoors. Their fumes can be deadly!   
  • Do not hook up a generator to your home's electricity distribution system without an inspection by the Electrical Inspection Authority. It is illegal and if done improperly could kill someone working on the electrical lines. Check out ESA’s tips on Generators.
  • Keep your freezer or refrigerator door closed. The food in your freezer will stay frozen for 12 to 48 hours depending on how full it is. Most food in your refrigerator will keep 24 hours, however, dairy products should be discarded after six hours without refrigeration.
  • Disconnect or turn off large appliances and unplug sensitive electronic equipment. Remember to leave one light on so you know when the power is restored.