No matter how prepared you are, or how much maintenance you have performed on your electrical assets every year; a winter ice storm doesn’t look through a maintenance database to decide who has done maintenance and when. Power outages caused from downed trees, and thick ice and snow build-up on wires can knock out power to thousands of people as quick as you can say KROON. Generally, there is little that can be done to prevent these storms from causing damage and having an impact. Good pre- winter maintenance (such as: ensuring exterior taps are shut off from inside your home, doors and windows are properly caulked, and that nearby trees are trimmed so that heavy ice and snow build-up doesn’t bring branches down on your home) can help, but nothing is guaranteed to stop a power outage.
When we experience a loss of power in the cold and dark winter months, our homes can become victim to damage that we have no defense against. To prepare for the next storm consider creating an emergency preparedness kit to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe. A good emergency preparedness kit includes the following:
1.A battery powered flashlight
2.A battery powered radio
4.An external charger for devices like smart phones
5. Bottled water and non- perishable food items (2 weeks worth is the recommended amount per person in your family)
6.Candles and matches
7.A complete first aid kit
8.Personal hygiene items
9.Required daily prescriptions
10.Blankets and sleeping bags for extra layers
If there is a furry one in your family, be sure to add your pet’s food to your emergency kit also! You will thank yourself for putting this together on a bright and sunny day. Be sure to keep it somewhere in your home where it is easily accessible in the event of an evacuation or power outage. Also, make sure you change the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke detectors every time you change the clocks. This will help to make sure that there are no invisible threats inside your home.
Now that you have your Emergency Preparedness Kit ready for the next emergency, below is a list of things to do if you lose power during a winter storm.
1.Make sure that the power outage is not just affecting your home. If your neighbours have power, check your breakers and fuses to ensure everything is in it’s proper working position.
2.Dress in layers! Wear multiple layers, and use extra blankets to keep your body warm.
3. Eat Regularly. Eating will help your body warm up on it's own.
4.By not opening your refrigerator and freezer during an outage you can keep the contents in there from spoiling for up to 24-36 hours.
5.Use your radio in your Emergency Kit to listen for updates pertaining to the storm and relief.
6.To avoid a power surge when the power does come back on, ensure that major appliances and electronics are unplugged if they are not on a surge protector.
7.Keep all faucets on a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
8.If an evacuation order is in place, before leaving your home turn off your main breaker, and water main. Be sure to drain leftover water from the system. Open all of your taps to flush the water out of the pipes, and flush your toilets a couple times to flush the water out (putting a small amount of antifreeze in your toilet bowl will help to keep any leftover water from freezing). Drain your hot water tank into your floor drain. Don’t forget about your washing machine! Unhook the hoses and drain them as well.
9.When the evacuation has been lifted and you are allowed to go back into your home, before turning on your main power switch, ensure that your basement has not flooded.
10.If there is no flooding in your basement, before turning the power back on make sure you have unplugged all of your appliances and electronics. Once everything is unplugged, turn on your main power source. Give this a few minutes to run before plugging everything back in.
11.Fill your hot water tank back up before turning it back on.
12.Check your refrigerator and freezer to make sure nothing has spoiled. Throw out items that have went bad.
13. If you needed to use anything in your Emergency Kit, be sure to replace the items so that your kit is stocked up for the next emergency.
14.Set your temperature a little higher than normal on your thermostat to help your entire home go back to it's regular settings.
These little steps are quick and easy and will help prevent major damage from occurring inside your home, and will end up saving you a lot of money in the long run! So, the next time a winter storm hits be prepared, and don’t get left in the dark.