A power outage can happen in any season and for multiple reasons. Often, high winds are a factor, but an auto accident or other sources can result in a damaged transformer leaving thousands without electricity. The reach can vary from only a section of your neighbourhood to an entire city or region and although your children may be disappointed that the television or internet is unavailable, there are much bigger concerns that you will need to contend with while the hydro is down. Will you be prepared?
It is important to remember not to panic, many power outages are for a relatively short period of time. Disruptions may be more of an inconvenience than anything, for the most part, you are completely safe to wait out the outage until hydro is restored. Even though we understand that most people never expect or anticipate an outage, it is important to remember that most businesses and stores including grocery, gas, banking and other services will be closed as a result of the outage, leaving resources you do not have stocked now unavailable. You should consider the following to ensure you are fully prepared.
WHAT YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED
Blankets and warm clothing may be needed as temperatures within your household will fall in winter months without other heating sources available.
Flashlights (including a supply of batteries). Be sure to keep flashlights stored in a location that allows easy access in the event of such an emergency
Non-flame candles. We recommend that you avoid candles with flames whenever possible, although they provide a source of light they also present a fire risk if left unattended or misused.
Fully charged cell phone. Your cordless household phones will not function when the hydro is out, a cell phone will be your best source for contacting assistance if required.
Non-Perishable Foods. If the power outage is prolonged you may be unable to using cooking appliances in the kitchen, having an adequate supply of food which does not require cooking is always a good idea
Bottled Water provides a clean drinking source.
WHAT TO CHECK
Sump pump water levels. Your pump will not function (unless you have a generator or another source of backup pump that does not require hydro), cheque frequently especially if rain occurs during the outage.
Check on neighbours, friends, and family if you are able. Seniors and others may require additional assistance during this time. Also remember that those living in apartments will be unable to use an elevator, consider if they are capable of using a stairway safely should they need to exit the building.
WHAT TO DO
Keep freezers and refrigerators closed to maintain cold temperatures inside for as long as possible and avoid food spoilage.
Inquire with your hydro provider regarding the estimated time of outage (an online App may be available for your phone for easy reference – it often shows how many current power outages the hydro company is working to restore and the location of each)
Disconnect appliances and electronics which were on at the time the power outage occurred, this will help to avoid a possible electrical surge when the hydro is restored.
Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
Do not use a gas stove to heat your home.
Your home insurance policy does provide coverage for some damage resulting from a power surge, freezer contents for example. Coverage may be limited, it is recommended to speak with your insurance agent or representative regarding insurance coverage that may be available under your policy.
Article Written by Darcy Johnson
Erie Mutual Insurance – Manager of Sales, Marketing & Business Development
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