How To Prepare For Summer Storms: Top Tips From Hydro Ottawa
While springtime in Ottawa can be delightful, the arrival of summer means that severe thunderstorms and heat waves are just around the corner. Summer is the season when the most unplanned power outages occur. While most outages are over quickly, some can last longer if extreme weather is involved. While you can’t control Mother Nature, you can prepare in advance and reduce the impact of a prolonged power outage.
Keep Things Running with a Back-up Generator
When a power outage occurs, a backup generator can provide the power you need to keep the lights on, your food cold and your devices charged. There are many types of generators to choose from depending on your budget and power requirements.
Portable generators usually run on gas or propane. While their power output is small, they are a good choice for charging kitchen appliances, lights, phones and mobile devices.
Standby generators also run on gas or propane and are permanently attached to your home’s power supply. When the power goes out, these generators automatically start up. They come in a variety of sizes that can cover essential power circuits or your entire home.
Solar powered generators are the most environmentally friendly option. While their power output is smaller, the power is free and the generator is quiet and non-polluting.
No matter which generator you choose, make sure it’s rated for the power output required to run the equipment and appliances you’ll need during an outage. Never use a portable generator indoors or in an enclosed space, as the exhaust fumes can be harmful.
Stay Dry with a Backup for your Sump Pump
A sump pump can help remove accumulated water from your basement during heavy rain and flooding. A system with a backup pump that can run for at least 72 hours in the event of an outage can help prevent costly water damage. You might also consider installing a sump pump alarm which alerts you when the water level in your sump pit is rising too high.
In the event of a flood, do not enter your basement unless you’re sure the power is disconnected. Electricity can move through water or wet flooring, potentially resulting in severe electrical shock.
Create your Emergency Plan
Take some time to develop a home emergency plan for how your family will respond during a crisis. Identify an emergency meeting place in case you need to evacuate, and make sure everyone knows where it is. Have a plan for how your family can contact each other if they are not together when an emergency happens.
Write down important information, including details on family medical conditions, allergies, medications, and insurance information. Prepare a list of key contacts you might need to reach. (One of your contacts should be somebody who lives farther away and won’t be affected by the same emergency.)
If you have pets, include them in your plan too. As pets may not be allowed in public shelters or hotels, make plans to bring them to a relative or friend. List the name, breed, colour and registration information for each pet.
Build your 72-Hour Emergency Kit
An emergency kit is an essential tool for staying safe if the power goes out for an extended period. Along with the information in your emergency plan, it should contain everything you and your family might need to survive for three days, including:
Essentials: flashlight, first-aid kit, spare keys (house and vehicle),
copies of important documents (passports and birth certificates)
Water and food: canned and non-perishable foods. Don’t forget the can opener and cutlery!
Health and hygiene items: soap, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper, prescription and over-the-counter medications Tools and supplies: duct tape, scissors, multi-tool, matches, candles
Comfort items: blankets and sleeping bags, cards, board games Gather these items and store them in a waterproof container
Gather these items and store them in a waterproof container (preferably with wheels) in a central, easy-to-access location. Ensure everyone in your home knows where the kit is located. Have a mini- kit on hand in case you need to evacuate immediately. It should be easy to carry and contain only a few essentials: food and water; a phone charger and battery pack; a flashlight with extra batteries; a hand-crank radio; a first aid kit; personal medications; cash; and important documents.
To download our complete emergency kit checklists, visit hydroottawa.com/beprepared.