The anniversary of the Ontario Blackout Stresses Need to be Prepared for any for Power Outages
by Lina Alviar
You may remember the blackout that occurred fifteen years ago on August 14, 2003. It was the biggest in Canadian and U.S. history, leaving approximately 50 million people — including 10 million Canadians — in the dark during peak summer temperatures. You may also recall how unprepared you were (I know I was – I’ve never eaten so much melting ice cream in my life!). While it’s hard to predict when or if another power outage will strike, it’s always good to be prepared. Here are a few simple things you can do to safeguard your home against the risks of an unexpected summer blackout.
Stop the Surge: Unplug all unnecessary appliances (i.e. computers, toaster ovens, TVs) in the event of a power outage to prevent a surge once hydro is restored.
Powerline Protection: Keep away from any damaged or downed powerlines and report them to your utility company right away.
Fridge Basics: Food can remain cool in a closed refrigerator for up to four hours and in a closed, fully-stocked freezer for up to 48-hours. Ensure refrigerator and freezer doors are sealed tightly to prevent premature spoilage.
Emergency Essentials: Power outages are unpredictable and can sometimes drag on for days. Every home should have a full stocked emergency kit, with three days-worth of supplies, that is safely stored and easily accessible. Here are some key items to include:
- Non-perishable food and can opener
- Minimum of 2L of water per day, per family member
- Essential toiletries
- Blankets and insulated clothing
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Toilet paper and garbage bags
- Basic first aid kit, including medication
- Pet food (we can’t forget our furry friends)
Generator Safety: Residential generators can come in very handy during a power outage but they must be installed with care. Generators should only be installed outside the home to ensure proper ventilation.
Take a few minutes to review these items and make sure your home is blackout ready. After all, you don’t want your family left in the dark!