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Hydro Ottawa recommends that customers keep essential supplies on hand in the event of an emergency. Be prepared, and follow these helpful tips to stay safe in case of an extended power outage.

Preparing for an Emergency

  • If you require an uninterrupted supply of power, including for specialized medical equipment, you are advised to ensure that you have a back-up supply in place.
  • Have a first aid kit prepared with adequate supplies to keep you and your entire family self-sufficient in your home for at least three days. Be sure to include prescription medicine and contact lens solution.
  • Keep enough water to sustain you for three days without power. You need at least two bottles of drinking water per adult per day. Extra water is needed for cooking and washing.
  • Keep an emergency food kit in your home. Food should be easy to store with no need for refrigeration or cooking. Some suggested food items include: grain products, canned food (meat, fish, soup), peanut butter, nuts, energy bars, nonperishable milk products, and pasta sauce dishes. Have additional supplies, such as cutlery, cups, plates and a manual can opener in your kit as well.
  • Keep several flashlights with fresh batteries and spare bulbs.
  • Make sure you have a battery operated or windup radio to stay in touch if there is no power. This will enable you to stay tuned into local media for updates.
  • Ensure you have a phone that does not require electricity.
  • Ensure your home has a battery-powered smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector to keep your family safe.

During Extended Power Outages

  • Unplug appliances and electronics to help avoid a power surge when electricity is restored.
  • If a power outage is expected to last for some time during the winter:
    • Shut off power to the water heater.
    • Shut off water at the main valve (usually found in the basement near the water meter).
    • Open taps to drain the pipes. Leave the taps open.
    • Flush toilets to empty them.
    • Drain appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.
    • In the event of an ice storm (such as the Ice Storm of 1998), stay in your home for as long as you are safe, warm and can feed yourself.
  • Food in freezers will keep for 24 to 48 hours without power. Food in refrigerators will keep for up to 12 hours if the door is kept shut. If the power remains off for more than one day and the temperature is below zero, store perishable food in a cooler in an unheated garage or balcony.
  • If you use a fireplace for heat, check chimneys for creosote buildup or debris. Do not leave the fire unattended for long periods of time.
  • Close room doors to keep heat in a confined area.
  • Use flashlights. Candles can be a fire hazard. If you must use candles, place them in a non-combustible container away from drapes and carpet.
  • Barbecues and camp stoves should only be used outdoors.
  • If your garage door is stuck closed, pull the emergency release cord that hangs from most door openers, and then raise the door by hand.
  • Generators should never be used indoors as exhaust fumes could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if they are not properly vented.
  • Plug your appliances directly into the generator. Only a licensed electrician should connect a generator to your home's electrical panel. Generators that are incorrectly connected to the power grid could present a safety hazard to utility workers and a potential technical risk to the distribution network and neighbouring customers.

Note: Documents are available in various accessible formats upon request.