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Protect yourself during a power outage

Get ready for an unplanned power outage

Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly. A power outage may:

  • Disrupt communications, water, and transportation.
  • Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services.
  • Cause food spoilage and water contamination.
  • Prevent the use of medical devices.

Protect yourself during a power outage

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
  • Do not use a gas stove to heat your home.
  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
  • Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
  • If safe, go to an alternate location for heat or cooling.
  • Check on neighbours

Start preparing for a power outage now

  • Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.
  • Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
  • Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
  • Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. Monitor weather reports.
  • Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have torches with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough non-perishable food and water.
  • Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.

How to get through an unplanned power outage

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Maintain food supplies that do not require refrigeration.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
  • Check on your neighbours. Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can cause damage.