Power outages can occur for many reasons such as equipment failure or damage caused by high winds and ice storms. Outages can be totally unexpected, so residents should prepare for such events before they occur:
- Store flashlights with fresh batteries in several places throughout your home and check them regularly.
- Have at least one non-cordless phone in your home. Most cordless phones will not work in a power outage.
- Consider purchasing an external battery pack for your cell phone or tablet in order to extend its use (use your device sparingly though).
- Try to keep your car’s gas tank at least one quarter to half-full. Many gas stations may not be in operation during a power outage, so fill up your tank if a major storm is forecast.
- Make sure you have a charging cord for your cell phone that will fit your vehicle’s accessory power outlet.
- If you or someone in your home uses special healthcare equipment like oxygen generators or dialysis machines, ask the supplier about power failures and notify your power company that you rely on electricity to power medical equipment.
- Consider installing a back-up heating system or purchasing a generator. Before purchasing a generator, speak to an electrician about proper sizing, types and connection options. Know how to operate your generator safely and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Learn how to shut off the water supply to your home and how to drain your waterlines, to prevent them from freezing (and potentially bursting) during power outages in extremely cold temperatures.
During a power outage
- Listen to a battery-powered or “crank” radio tuned to a local station to find out what is happening.
- Use your wireless device to occasionally check the “outages” page of your electricity supplier’s website (see bottom of this page). Please note that cell phone service may also be lost during an extended power outage.
- Do not call 9-1-1 to report power outages. If you need to report an outage, contact your local electricity provider.
- Cell phone towers may be tied up with calls. You may however be able to text friends or family because texting requires less data.
- Turn off all tools, appliances, computers or other electrical equipment – power can be restored more easily when the system is not overloaded.
- Do not open your fridge or freezer unless absolutely necessary. Discard any thawed food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Check on elderly or disabled neighbours.
- Use caution if you must travel – traffic and street lights may not be working.
- Do not use barbecues, gas heaters or electrical generators indoors – they produce deadly carbon monoxide.
- When the power comes back on, give the electrical system a chance to stabilize before reconnecting tools and appliances.
Your preparations ahead of time, will help determine how comfortable you will be during a power failure. Municipal warming or cooling centres may be opened during long-term outages, but residents should be prepared to take care of their own needs for at least 72 hours. Visit the Government of Canada’s “Get Prepared” website for more details about preparing for power failures.
Below is contact information and websites for electricity providers in Lambton County. Be sure to visit their websites for more information about electrical safety and power outages:
Hydro One Emergencies & Outages
Bluewater Power Emergency Service