Power outage in the winter

Simple instructions

Listen to the radio for updates

Keep the tap open just a little. Flush the toilet

Lower the heat to a minimum of 20°C

In case of an emergency, call 911

Disconnect all electrical appliances, except for a lamp on each floor

Keep the fridge and the freezer doors closed

Getting ready for a power outage

  • Keep at home in a safe place:
    • a flashlight with extra batteries;
    • a radio with batteries;
    • candles or an oil lamp, and the recommended fuel;
    • a fondue heater and the recommended fuel; and
    • a lighter or matches.
  • If you have a wood stove or a fireplace, stock up on wood.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm, and regularly check that it is working properly.

During a power outage

  • Listen to the news on the radio.
  • Lower the thermostat to minimum.
  • Unplug all electrical and electronic equipment, except for one light per floor to avoid drawing too much electricity once the power returns.
  • Do not open the refrigerator or freezer door more often than necessary. This will help preserve the food for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Unless otherwise instructed by your municipality, keep a trickle of water running, and flush the toilet a few times during the day to keep the pipes from freezing.
  • If you have an auxiliary heating system, turn it on before your home gets too cold. If you have to connect it to the chimney used for the regular heating system, shut it down before you make the connection.
  • If you are using a generator, observe the following safety rules:
    • follow the manufacturer's instructions;
    • shut off the main breaker before connecting the generator;
    • install it outside, on a raised platform and not on the ground, and protect it from the elements;
    • make sure that the cables are not touching water and that the clamps are firmly connected to the fuse box. If in doubt, check with your supplier and run a test before a power outage;
    • make sure that exhaust gases do not seep into your home through a window or vent;
    • stay within the generator's capacity; and
    • shut off the generator and let it cool down before you refill it.

If the power outage continues

  1. Leave your home if it is too cold. If you do not know where to go, contact the municipality.
  2. Remember to bring your emergency kit.
  3. Before you leave:
    1. shut off the water supply and purge the pipes. Pour antifreeze into the toilets and drains; and
    2. shut off the main power and gas supplies.

Once the power returns

  1. Be sure that the hot water tank is full before turning on the current.
  2. Restore the current through the main breaker.
  3. Open the water supply and taps to let the air out.
  4. Never restart the gas by yourself; ask an expert to do it.

Source: En situation d'urgence, savez-vous quoi faire? brochure by Quebec's ministère de la Sécurité publique.

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