Storm Related Outages
If a severe weather emergency happens in our community, you may be without basic utilities for long periods of time. It may take emergency workers some time to get to you. After all, they are also battling the same problems that a storm brings.
You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your household for a minimum period of 72 hours.
By taking a few simple steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies that include winter storms, flooding, major power outages and other emergencies that may leave you without basic services or find you evacuated.
Know the Risks-
Thunderstorms, high winds and snowstorms can create power outage situations that may last longer than a few minutes. They could be widespread and even last for days. You should always be prepared ahead of time for the possibility that you will be without power for a longer period.
Have a Plan-
Plans involve a safe place to meet away from your home, who to call and what to grab. Discuss different scenarios among your household. Use this handy interactive online tool to develop one.
Make a Kit-
Keeping some basic items on hand and know what else to grab and go with can transform you from a victim into a hero. Review a list here.
KNOW THIS BEFORE A POWER OUTAGE
Before a power outage strikes, consider the following
- New handheld phones won’t work without power. Buy an inexpensive handset to plug directly into the telephone jack. You might consider a UPS or battery pack to power or recharge communication devices (computer, cell phones, wireless phones) if access to the outside is important during an outage.
- In the winter, always keep a full tank of gas in the automobile. This will allow you to drive somewhere that has power when the roads are safe to travel. It will also reduce the risk of gas lines freezing in winter.
- Surge-protecting power bars should be in place to protect sensitive electrical appliances such as TVs, computer, and DVD players. During an outage, unplug the power bars and only leave a light on so you know when the power returns.
- You can follow @ThunderBayHydro on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to get access with your smartphone to updates during major outages.
- If a back up generator is in your plans, it should have an ESA inspected transfer capability and fuel on hand to last through a longer outage. Store fuel responsibly and know what devices your generator can supply.
- Talk with your neighbours to pool resources. Someone might have a wood stove for heat; others, a supply of garden food in a cold room.
WHEN THE POWER FIRST GOES OUT
- If you see downed power lines, do not go near them. Call 911
- First, check whether the power outage is limited to your home.
If your neighbours' power is still on, check your own circuit breaker panel or fuse box.
If the problem is not a breaker or a fuse, check the service wires leading to the house.
If they are obviously damaged or on the ground, stay at least 10 meters back and notify Thunder Bay Hydro at 343-1111.
Keep the number along with other emergency numbers near your telephone.
- If your neighbours' power is also out, please give us 30 minutes to try to restore power remotely and provide for safety measures. Then check our online outage map at www.tbhydro.com/outage using your smartphone.
If you don't see your outage mapped and you have been without power for 30 minutes, you can try calling us at 343-1111 and follow the prompts to receive a message about current known outages.
- During storm events, if you see a tree or other object on a power line or sparking equipment on poles, notify Thunder Bay Hydro. Call Us at (807) 343-1002 or use the outage notification form to help us find the source of the trouble.
DURING A POWER OUTAGE
- Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment, and turn the thermostat(s) for the home heating system down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored. Also, power can be restored more easily when there is not a heavy load on the electrical system.
- Turn off all lights, except one inside and one outside, so that both you and hydro crews outside know that power has been restored.
- Don't open your freezer or fridge unless it is absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door remains closed.
- Never use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment, or home generators indoors. They give off carbon monoxide. Because you can't smell or see it, carbon monoxide can cause health problems and is life-threatening.
- Use proper candle holders. Never leave lit candles unattended and keep out of reach of children. Always extinguish candles before going to bed.
- Listen to your battery-powered or wind-up radio for information on the outage and advice from authorities. If these are not available, you may choose to monitor broadcast media using your car radio.
- Use your smartphone to check Twitter @ThunderBayHydro or check our Facebook Page for updates on major outages.
- Tune into local radio stations for emergency messages from authorities when the outages or widespread emergency event continues past 12 hours.