On most days we are fortunate to live and work in powered communities; homes and businesses that are lit, warm and allow us to connect.
But no matter how effective our grid is, we cannot control Mother Nature and the risk of power outages. Storms can down power lines or cause equipment damage at any moment. For Hydro Ottawa customers, being prepared for a possible power outage with supplies which will allow your family to go several days without power, just makes sense.
Prepare a kit, take precautions in advance
The work to prepare for an outage should occur before a storm breaks. Have an emergency kit ready and pack it with supplies to last a minimum of 72 hours. This should include a flashlight and radio, with fresh batteries, plus non-perishable foods that require little to no heat for cooking. A first aid kit and enough water to last three days are also essentials.
Another thing you can do in advance is ensure you have a landline that doesn’t require electricity or the capability to charge a cell phone during an outage, so you can call emergency services if needed. If you have a generator, make sure it’s been installed properly and/or by a qualified electrician. Having a battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is also a good idea to ensure your safety isn’t compromised as you wait for power to return.
We’re all inconvenienced by outages in different ways so, think about your individual needs and what is most important to you should the power go out. If you require uninterrupted power for medical equipment, ensure that you have a back-up supply in place or a plan to relocate somewhere where it’s available. If you have a mobility disability and live in a building with an elevator, inform your building’s management that you may need assistance moving. Your emergency kit and plan should be unique to you.
Reporting an outage, and staying safe
Hydro Ottawa relies on customer calls to pinpoint the cause of outages. Promptly reporting an outage allows crews to respond quickly so that they can restore your power. You can report an outage online or by calling 613-738-0188, any day, at any time.
Before reporting an outage, check to see if your neighbours have lost power too, or if the outage is just connected to your property. Take note if there’s damaged electrical equipment outside your property and let us know. If you spot a downed wire, stay back at least 10 metres and call 911.
Stay safe and resilient. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to weather the storm.
This is the first in a series of blogs to mark Emergency Preparedness Week, May 7 to 13. For more see the Emergency Preparedness section of our website.