Power outages are relatively common and can occur at anytime. Power outages can pose serious problems, particularly for those using life-sustaining equipment (LSE), or during extreme temperatures.
Power outage tips:
- Leave one light on, so you'll know when your power returns.
- Due to the extreme risk of fire, do not use candles during a power outage.
- Keep a flashlight and other emergency supplies handy in case of power outages.
- Check the fuse box to see if there is a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
- If you determine that a fuse or circuit breaker needs to be replaced, turn off all large appliances or unplug them before replacing a fuse or a breaker to avoid damage to the electrical system.
- Check your neighbourhood to see if others are without power.
- Call 311 to report the power outage. Call only once to keep the line open for other customers. Try to reserve your phone for emergencies only. Listening to a battery-powered radio will allow you to obtain the latest information. Do not call 911 to obtain information: only call 911 to report a life-threatening emergency.
- Summer: If it is hot outside, take steps to remain cool. Move to the lowest level of your home, because cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-coloured clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Summer: If the heat is intense and the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theatre, shopping mall or "cooling shelter" that may be opened in the community.
- Winter: If it is cold outside, put on layers of warm clothing.
- Winter: Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.
- Winter: Never use your gas oven or burners as a source of heat.
- Winter: If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (relative, friend, or public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
- Check refrigerator to ensure that food does not go bad and cause food-related illnesses
- Discard any food in your freezer that is over 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit).
- If you rely on electric medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, ventilators and oxygen compressors, plan ahead by talking to your medical supply company about getting batteries or a generator as a back up power source.
Throw out the following foods if the electrical power to your refrigerator has been off for more than 4 hours:
- Raw or cooked meat, poultry and seafood
- Milk, cream, yoghurt, soft and semi-soft cheese
- Cooked pasta, rice, and potatoes
- Custard, pudding, chiffon, cheese pies
- Casseroles, soups, stews
- Refrigerated cookie dough
- Cream-filled pastries
- Salads (vegetable, pasta, potato, etc.)
- Fresh eggs, egg substitute
The following foods are safe without refrigeration:
- Margarine or butter
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Peanut butter, jams and jellies
- Breads, pastas and flour
- Ketchup, barbecue sauce, or mustard
- Unprepared powdered milk, dry and canned food
- Hard or processed cheeses
Keep the freezer door closed as much as possible. Food in most full, freestanding freezers will be safe for about 2 days, for about 1 day in half-full freezers. If your freezer is not full, group packages together so they form an "igloo" protecting each other. If food has started to thaw, you will have to evaluate each item separately to see what can safely be kept.
Listen to local radio reports for food advisories from the Windsor Essex County Health Unit.