Power Outage Safety

Lightning Strike

What to do if the power is out for an extended period of time:

  • Try not to open your refrigerator/freezer often to keep food from spoiling.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Are you prepared for a power outage? Here are some tips that could help.

  • Sign up for local weather and emergency alerts
  • Pack an emergency preparedness kit with some essentials, such as non-perishable food, bottled water, batteries, battery operated radio, flashlights, candles, matches, blankets and whatever else you may need
  • If you have medical equipment powered by electricity, speak to your doctor about a power outage plan.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
  • Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
  • Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. If the temperature is higher than 4ºC (40ºF), follow Health Canada standards for safe food storage.
  • Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.

You can find more information about what to do and how to prepare for a power outage on the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared Webpage.

Lightning Storms: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

  • If you can hear thunder, you can get hit by lightning! Take shelter immediately. If you cannot find a sturdy, fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing, get into a metal-roofed vehicle and remain sheltered until 30 minutes after the last thunder.
  • To plan for a safe day, check the weather forecast first. If thunderstorms are forecast, avoid being outdoors at that time or make an alternate plan. Identify safe places and determine how long it will take you to reach them.
  • Watch the skies for developing thunderstorms and listen for thunder. As soon as you hear thunder, quickly get to a safe location.
  • If you can hear thunder, you are in danger of being hit by lightning. More people are struck by lightning before a storm arrives or after it departs than during the storm itself.
  • Get to a safe place. A safe location is a fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing. Sheds, picnic shelters, tents or covered porches do NOT protect you from lightning. If no sturdy building is close by, get into a metal-roofed vehicle and close all windows.
  • Do not handle electrical equipment, telephones or plumbing during a thunder storm. These are all electrical conductors. Using a computer or wired video game system, taking a bath or touching a metal window frame all put you at risk of being struck by lightning. Use battery operated appliances only.
  • Remember, there is no place outside that is safe during a thunderstorm. You should make every effort possible to find shelter in a well-constructed building or metal-topped vehicle.

Did You Know

More people are struck by lightning before a storm arrives or after it departs than during the storm itself? Sheds, picnic shelters, tents or covered porches DO NOT protect you from lightning.