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Power Failure

What We Learned In The Dark

The ice storm of 2013 will be remembered by many of us as the time we learned that we REALLY do need to have some supplies on hand and be prepared.

Here are some of the key things that you need when the power goes off - especially in the deep of winter.

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  • A generator can charge your key appliances such as your refrigerator to keep food cold and safe to consume, a space heater to keep you warm and your cell phone to keep you in touch.
  • Run your generator occasionally to charge things up rather than running it constantly to maximize fuel usage - remember gas stations require power for the pumps to run and for you to get more fuel for your generator.
  • Make sure your generator produces more power than will be drawn by the things you connect to the generator including the initial surge when it is turned on. If your generator does not produce enough power to operate everything at once, stagger the use of your equipment.
  • If your equipment draws more power than the generator can produce, you may blow a fuse on the generator or worse yet, damage the connected equipment!
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Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Your home should have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor - ESPECIALLY if you are running a generator!
  • Exhaust from a running generator can enter your home through cracks, windows, doors or vents - be safe and have a CO detector installed.
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  • There are many different types of flashlights - you may want to have a few spread around the house in case you are caught unaware when the lights go out.
  • Make sure to have at least one flashlight that can sit upright or let you work without holding it.
  • Many of our cordless power tool kits include a flashlight head - these flashlights will run for hours on your rechargeable tool battery and can not only stand on their own but allow you to angle the light how you want to.
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  • Headlamps are a great way to light the way hands-free!
  • A headlamp ensures that the direction that you are looking is lit up for you.
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Storage Containers

Storage Containers
  • Sealable storage containers can save you the heartache of losing a fridge or freezer full of food.
  • Load up storage bins with your spoilable food and put them outside in the backyard, shed, garage or balcony when the weather is cold.
  • Storage bins will allow the cold to get to the food - unlike coolers that insulate the food from the chill outside.
  • Place stones or heavy objects on the top of the bins if you are worried about critters opening the lid.
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Space Heaters (for use with generator)

Space Heaters (for use with generator)
  • A small space heater can heat up a room quickly with minimal draw on a generator - make sure your heater is not drawing power from the generator at the same time as your large appliances.
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Wood and Pellet Stoves

Wood and Pellet Stoves
  • A properly installed wood or pellet stove will keep you warm and toasty until the lights come back on.
  • Make sure to have your wood or pellet stove installed by a professional to ensure proper ventilation and fire safety.
  • Stock up on the appropriate fuel for your stove!
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Battery-Powered Sump Pumps

Battery-Powered Sump Pumps
  • If your home relies on a sump pump, a battery-powered sump pump will keep your basement dry during power outages.
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Natural Gas BBQs

Natural Gas BBQs
  • If you don't have a gas stove, a natural gas BBQ can keep you cooking through a power outage - these BBQs hook directly to your house gas supply so will not run out like a small propane tank.
  • Keep a couple of old pots handy and you can boil water for coffee, make a pot of soup or just heat a pot of water for any use.
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Weather Radio

Weather Radio
  • If you don't have a battery-operated radio, you should at minimum have a weather radio that will alert you or keep you informed of worsening weather conditions or evacuation orders.
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  • Always keep a supply of batteries on hand for all of your emergency devices such as flashlights, radios, and smoke and CO detectors.
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Automatic Standby Generators

Automatic Standby Generators
  • Protect your home or business with 24/7 backup power protection.
  • Permanently installed and always ready.
  • A safer way to provide backup power to a home than a portable generator.
  • Your home is protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning that is a much greater risk with portable generators.
  • Runs on your home's natural gas or liquid propane fuel supply, which is less expensive to run than gasoline and does not need to be refilled.
  • Starts automatically within seconds of a power outage, and eliminate the need to haul a portable generator outside or run extension cords throughout your home.
  • Provides protection 24/7, whether you're home or away, and they turn themselves off when utility power returns, so there is no need to monitor the unit during an outage.
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Generator Safety

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards

  • ALWAYS use generators outdoors and away from doors, windows and vents
  • NEVER use generators in enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation
  • Follow manufacturers instructions
  • Install battery-operated or battery back up carbon monoxide detectors in your home

Avoid Electrical Hazards

  • Keep the generator dry and protected from rain and snow
  • Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure
  • Dry your hands before touching the generator
  • Plug appliances directly into a generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cord (ensure the cord is free of cuts, tears or damage and has an intact ground pin)
  • NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet
  • NEVER plug the generator directly into a house wiring system

Avoid Fire Hazards

  • Turn the generator off and let it cool before refuelling
  • Store fuel outside of living areas in properly ventilated areas and away from the generator
  • Keep shades and curtains open during the day so the sun can warm your space; close them at night to keep heat in.
  • Turn off all your appliances and electronic equipment, and turn your heating thermostats down to a minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when the power is restored.
  • Turn off all your lights, except one inside and one outside, so that both you and hydro crews outside know that power has been restored.
  • Don't open your freezer or fridge unless it's absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door remains closed.
  • Use proper candle holders (deep, wide holders are best) and never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Check on vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours (the elderly, ill, disabled) who may require special assistance.
  • Turn off the main breaker or switch of the power-supply box.
  • Turn off the water main where it enters the house.
  • Drain the water from your plumbing system. Starting at the top of the house, open all taps, and flush toilets several times. Go to the basement and open the drain valve. Drain your hot water tank by attaching a hose to the tank drain valve and running it to the basement floor drain.
  • Unhook your washing machine hoses and drain.
  • "Indoor" propane heaters are for commercial use only and for use with proper ventilation only - they are NOT for use in a power failure.
  • NEVER use a BBQ of any fuel type or open flame indoors.
  • Top chimney with spark guards.
  • Make sure stove has approval from a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Use adequate ventilation.
  • Keep combustibles at least 3 (three) feet away from the stove.
  • Shovel ashes into a metal container and store outside.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • Fireplaces should be serviced by a professional annually.
  • Check for cracks, loose bricks and other defects before using.
  • Burn only seasoned hardwoods.
  • NEVER use gasoline, kerosene, or lighter fluid to start a fire!!!
  • Keep a screen or a heat tempered glass door to prevent sparks from flying out.
  • Water - have a good supply of drinking water on hand.
  • Food that does not need to be cooked - canned goods such as tuna, packaged goods such as crackers and bread.
  • Food that does not spoil - canned goods or packaged goods will not spoil without refrigeration.
  • Batteries - keep the batteries that you need for flashlights, portable radios etc.
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