Living in a more rural community like Vernon, a winter power outage is quite a bit more common than most of us think. Winter storms can damage and knock down power lines, and there is no telling how long it will take for the power to come back on. Being stuck without power in the harsh winter that Okanagan residents get, can be very cold.
With this being said, we have put together a list of what you should do before, during, and after a power outage. We want to make sure that you and your family are safe and warm until the heat comes back on!
Before a Power Outage:
We all know that there is a long list of things that we need to do to prepare our home for a cold winter. But along with cold winters, we can probably assume that there will be a power outage. Along with getting your house ready for winter, consider these tips. When it comes to charging your phone, running a space heater, or just keeping some lights on we suggest investing in a small gas generator. Although you may not need it for very long, it can prevent that food from spoiling in the fridge and save you some frost bite in your toes.
You should always have an alternative heating source in your home that is in working conditions. Whether it is a fireplace or woodstove, it can keep your home warm. But make sure you know how to safely use them prior to the power outage.
There is a list of things that you should have on hand in the event of a power outage. As it is quite uncommon for people to have a power outage supply bag, let’s just cover a few things that should be easily accessible in your home and are in working condition.
- Flashlight & extra batteries
- Candles, matches & a lighter
- Non-perishable food & pet food
- Bottled water
- A portable cell phone charger
During the Power is out:
As soon as the power has gone out, it is important to make sure that all your neighbours’ power is out too. If you see that only your lights are off, check to see if there is a problem with your breaker and call your hydro company. If everyone’s lights are off you are experiencing a power outage and you should still call and report the outage to your hydro company.
While you are waiting for your power to come back on take these precautions:
- Unplug your appliances. In the event there is a power surge when your power does come back on, you do not want your appliances fried.
- Put on your layers. Try and put on a sweater, socks, and a toque. Grab a cozy blanket for warmth and cuddle up to someone close.
- Leave the fridge and freezer door closed. Keeping the cool air in will prevent your food for spoiling. If the power is out for longer than 36 hours, consider stashing frozen food in the snow outside.
- Be careful about gas. Using a gas generator, outdoor campfire, or charcoal barbecue inside your house can be very dangerous. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result if it is left on for too long.
After a Power Outage:
Finally! After the power returns, there are a few things you need to do.
- Re-set the clocks and plug everything back in.
- Go through your fridge and freezer. When in doubt throw it out! Meat, seafood, milk, and leftovers are more than likely bad after exposed to temperatures over 5 degrees Celsius for 2 hours.
- Walk through your house to inspect and repair any damage that could have occurred. Look for flooding or frozen pipes. Contact your home insurance broker if you need to file a claim.
We want you to be the best equipped for a potential power outage this winter. If you have any questions regarding your home insurance feel free to contact your Baron agent today!
Looking for a few more tips? Check out this link from the Canadian government. https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/pwrtgs-wtd/index-en.aspx.