Winter Power Failure

How can I be ready for a winter power failure?

Although it is difficult to predict when there will be a power failure, the following emergency supplies can help keep you safe and warm:

  • Blankets and Warm Clothing
  • Candles and Matches
  • Water Stored In Clean Containers
  • Multipurpose, Dry-Chemical Fire Extinguisher
  • First Aid Kit and Instruction Manual
  • Flashlight or Battery-Powered Lantern
  • Battery-Powered or Crank Radio
  • Battery-Powered Clock or Watch
  • Extra Batteries
  • Non-Electric Can Opener
  • Snow Shovel
  • Rock Salt
  • Special Needs Items (diapers, hearing aid batteries, medicines, etc.)

Have sufficient supplies for three days prepared in advance.

An alternate heat source might be needed as gas furnaces, fireplaces and stoves need electricity for the fans and starters.

Be ready by having dry firewood for a fireplace or wood stove available and ensuring that wood-burning fireplaces and stoves are in good working condition.

Keep supplies of foods that do not need cooking or refrigeration such as bread, crackers, cereal, canned foods and dried fruits, in case of prolonged power outages.

Battery-powered flashlights or lanterns should be used rather than candles to help you see in the dark. If you do use candles, never leave them unattended when lit.

It is wise to unplug all electrical appliances such as computers, VCR's and televisions to prevent damage when the power returns.

How can I keep warm?

You can conserve the heat in your home by avoiding any unnecessary opening of doors or windows.

Close the doors of any unneeded rooms to keep the heat in common areas. Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors and close draperies or cover windows with blankets at night.

Never use emergency heaters such as generators, gas heaters and barbeques indoors.

When using emergency generators, ensure that they are properly connected by an electrician and kept away from windows or doors so that carbon monoxide cannot leak inside.

Monitor infants and older adults. Infants are unable to make enough body heat to keep warm by shivering and they lose body heat more easily than adults.

Keep infants warm with blankets and warm clothing. In an emergency, an infant can be kept warm with the body heat of an adult.

Older adults make less body heat because of a slower metabolism and have a lessened ability to feel a change in temperature. Check on elderly friends and neighbours often.

How can I prepare food and what should I eat and drink?

Try to have foods that do not need cooking or refrigeration. If you must prepare food, use a barbeque or a small, portable gas camp stove outdoors. Never use an emergency food preparation source indoors as the fumes are deadly.

Extreme cold temperatures can cause water pipes to freeze and sometimes rupture.

In a power outage:

  • Leave all water taps slightly open so that they drip continuously.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let heated air near water pipes.

If your pipes freeze, thaw them with an electric hair dryer once power has resumed.

Use bottled water or get water from a neighbour's home if you cannot thaw your pipes or if your pipes are ruptured.

In an emergency, snow can be melted for drinking. Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute to kill microorganisms or parasites.

Eat well-balanced meals and drink warm beverages such as hot chocolate or sweetened coffee or tea to help maintain your body temperature.

Do not drink alcoholic beverages as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.