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Safety Tips

For electrical safety tips and to find a licensed electrical contractor, visit the Electrical Safety Authority.

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.
  • Contact Ontario One Call (ON1CALL) before you dig. Planting a tree, building a deck or a fence? Contact ON1Call first to get a locate so you can dig safely. Remember, you are liable for any damage or injury caused by interfering with any buried infrastructure. Request a free locate online (www.ON1CALL.com) or call 1-800-400-2255. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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