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Safety Tips

Power Outages

Most power outages will be over almost as soon as they begin, but some can last much longer  up to days or even weeks. Power outages are often caused by freezing rain, sleet storms and/or high winds which damage power lines and equipment. Cold snaps or heat waves can also overload the electric power system.

During a power outage, you may be left without heating/air conditioning, lighting, hot water, or even running water. If you only have a cordless phone, you will also be left without phone service. If you do not have a battery-powered or crank radio, you may have no way of monitoring news broadcasts. In other words, you could be facing major challenges.

Power Outage Preparedness

Residential Tips

Top 10

  • Keep a flashlight and spare batteries in easily accessible locations
  • Check whether the power outage is limited to your home. If your neighbour’s power is out as well, notify your electric supply authority. If you neighbour’s power is on, check your circuit breaker panel or fuse box. A breaker may have tripped or a fuse may have blown.
  • Don’t open your freezer or fridge! A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24-36 hours if the door remains closed
  • Never use charcoal or gas barbecues or appliances indoors. They give off carbon monoxide, which can cause health problems and is life-threatening. Also, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working and have a battery-powered back-up
  • Use proper candle holders, don’t leave them unattended or near children, and always extinguish before going to bed or leaving house.
  • Use a battery-powered or crank radio for information on the outage.
  • In an emergency you will need some basic supplies. You may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared with and Emergency Kit to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.
  • Every Canadian household needs an emergency plan. It will help you and your family to know what to do in case of an emergency. Remember, your family may not be together when the power goes out.
  • 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. This can endanger the lives of utility employees working to restore the power.
  • Visit Dufferin County and Get Prepared for more Emergency Preparedness guidance.
Winter Tips
  • Install a non-electric standby heating unit. Choosing a heating unit that is not dependent on an electric device can provide warmth during power outage

Summer Tips

  • During a summer power outage, keep your blinds closed to help keep your house cool.
  • During a summer power outage, listen to a radio to find any cooling centres that are open.
  • Don’t plant trees near power lines. Eventually, a tree will mature and approach the power lines. Trees near power lines can cause a power outage as well as damage supply equipment.
  • Hire a qualified arborist and contact your supply authority to trim trees away from power lines.

Avoiding Power Outages

You can help your supply authority avoid future outages by doing your part:
  • Notify your electrical supply authority of damaged equipment in your neighbourhood. Your supply authority will be able to repair or replace the equipment before it causes an outage.
  • Don’t plant trees near power lines. Eventually, a tree will mature and approach the power lines. Trees near power lines can cause a power outage as well as damage supply equipment.
  • Hire a qualified arborist and contact your supply authority to trim trees away from power lines.

Power Outages: What to do?

72 Hours: Is Your Family Prepared?

You can greatly lessen the impact of a power outage by taking the time to prepare in advance. You and your family should be prepared to cope on your own during a power outage for at least 72 hours.

If an emergency happens in your community, it may take emergency workers some time to reach you. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours. Learn how quick and easy it is to become better prepared to face a range of emergencies anytime, anywhere. Use the Emergency Preparedness Guide to create your own emergency plan. Use the checklists to build a 72-hour emergency kit. These basic steps will help you take care of yourself and your loved ones during an emergency.

Useful Websites

Dufferin County Emergency Services

Electrical Safety Authority

Get Prepared

Emergency Management Ontario

Emergency Preparedness Ontario

Public Weather Alerts for Canada

Call or Click Before You Dig

 

Planting a tree, building a deck or installing a fence?

Before you get started, call or click Ontario One Call to book a free locate.

Striking underground services can have serious consequences. It is important that you know the location of any underground hydro lines so that injury and/or damage to equipment and personal liability may be avoided.

Don’t take the risk. Dig safely and get a free locate!

Request your free locate online or call the number listed below. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please provide them with at least five (5) business days notice to process your request.

 

Online: www.on1call.com

Phone: 1-800-400-2255

Fax: 1-800-400-8876

 

Powerline Safety

How Close Can you Come to Overhead Powerlines with your Body or Object?

 

Look up, look out and locate powerlines!

When cleaning eavestroughs and windows, working on the roof, painting the house or pruning trees. Always have a signaller – someone who can watch to make sure you stay at least 3 metres away from the powerline.

Keep your distance from overhead powerlines, 3-6 metres (10-20 feet) minimum.

You don’t have to touch a powerline to receive a deadly shock. Electricity can jump or “arc” to you or your tools if you get too close.

For more information, please visit the ESA website:  https://www.esasafe.com/consumers/safety-and-security/powerline-safety/

 

How Dangerous is Contact With Overhead Powerlines?

 

Contact with a powerline is very dangerous and can happen in an instant, but its impact is felt forever. From serious injury to death, the results are always devastating.

A simple chore like removing leaves from an eavestrough can turn into a life-changing event around overhead powerlines if necessary safety precautions aren’t taken.

Most Ontarians don’t think about the silent but potentially deadly risks posed by overhead powerlines. We depend on powerlines to power our homes, businesses, and neighbourhoods. It’s important to always respect their power by exercising safety precautions when playing or working around them.

Look up, look out and locate power lines to avoid any potential hazards!

 

What You Can Do: 7 Essential Powerline Safety Tips

  1. Look up, look out and locate powerlines when cleaning eavestroughs and windows, working on the roof, painting the house or pruning trees. Always have a signaller – someone who can watch to make sure you stay at least 3 metres. Plus, you don’t have to touch a powerline to receive a deadly shock. Electricity can jump or “arc” to you or your tools if you get too close.
  2.  Carry ladders horizontally, never vertically, and check for overhead powerlines before putting them up.
  3. Keep away from electrical transmission and distribution lines, and never climb utility poles. Always obey the safety signs. If a toy ends up inside a transformer station, call the Local Distribution Company – don’t try to retrieve it yourself.
  4. Call or click before you dig! Powerlines are not only found above ground, they can also be buried beneath it. Before you start construction on a deck, fence or other landscaping project contact Ontario One Call to locate all utility-owned underground infrastructure including natural gas, communications and power lines, as well as water and wastewater pipes. Find out why this is important. Privately owned underground powerlines require a private locate.
  5. Plant trees away from overhead powerlines so they don’t grow up into the powerlines. If your trees have grown into the powerlines, contact your local utility or a utility arborist. Do not trim trees around powerlines yourself. More tree trimming and landscaping tips here.
  6. Watch for downed powerlines – if you see one stay back 10 metres or 33 feet (the length of a school bus) and call 911 and the Local Distribution Company immediately.
  7. Talk to your kids about powerline safety and help them find safe places to play, away from utility poles and powerlines. Choose wide-open spaces to fly kites, and never attempt to retrieve a kite or any other object that is tangled in a powerline. Remind children never to climb trees near powerlines and make sure they take a close look since leaves and branches can hide the wires. The green boxes on lawns or in parks are also off-limits.

Powerline Safety at Work

If you work on construction sites, outside or above ground, you’ll also want to visit the Powerline Safety at Work section, here.

 

How Close Can You Come to Downed Overhead Powerlines?

 

Overhead power lines are a necessary component of our electricity distribution system. These power lines carry high voltage electricity and can cause serious harm if anyone gets too close to them.

Downed overhead power lines can be caused by storms, ice, equipment failure, or vehicle accidents.

If you see a downed overhead powerline, stay a minimum of 10 metres or 33 feet (the length of a school bus) away. Call 911 immediately and your Local Distribution Company

 

 

 

Electrical Equipment

Danger of Tampering with Electrical Equipment

 

Some electrical utility equipment is located on the ground, such as locked steel cabinets (“green boxes”) that contain transformers. Transformers are part of our electricity system.

Transformers convert voltage from our electricity system into a level suitable for your home. A large amount of energy is stored in transformers!

Opening, touching, or removing contents of electrical equipment is very dangerous. You could be seriously hurt or killed. It is important to stay informed and do not tamper with electrical equipment.