How should you prepare for a power outage?

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If you’ve been living in Ottawa or even Ontario for the last few years, you might have noticed that it’s becoming quite predictable that we will experience a few power outages every year. 

With that in mind, we think it is a good idea to be prepared for a power outage in Ottawa. Power outages can last a couple of hours to multiple days, especially if you live in a more rural area, which can affect your way and quality of life. 

So, what do you need to be prepared for in case a power outage strikes in your neighbourhood?

The Basics of a Power Outage in Ontario

Here are some of the basic things you will need just in case your power does go out. 

Ensure that you have easy access to these items to make an outage more manageable:

  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Candles
  • Bottled water (No power means no toilets, so plan accordingly. Old vinegar jugs can be refilled and that water can be used for washing dishes and hands, even to keep the toilet tanks full)
  • Non-perishable foods like canned meats, peanut butter, and canned soups and stews.
  • Cash (trust us, this is a good idea, especially for emergency purchases where debit machines may no longer be operational)

A Generator

If you live in an area where you know power takes a longer time to be restored, or if you want the peace of mind of knowing that your food won’t spoil, a generator is a great investment to make. 

The generator should be in a dry location outside and roughly 20 feet from buildings. Make sure to keep it away from windows. 

Remember to turn it off before you refuel and to maintain it on a regular basis so it’s ready to use when you need it. The worst-case scenario would be to have a generator that doesn’t function when you need it most.

Generators can be tricky, so here is an informative video that can help you get better acquainted with them: 

A Portable Charger

A portable charger is an easy way to keep devices charged during a power outage. Because we are so reliant on our devices these days, a portable charger can help prevent your smartphone battery from dying. (This also kept our daughter happy during the last power outage, knowing her phone would not die when it could not be charged at home!). 

A Battery Back-Up Sump Pump

If your home has a sump pump, you may need a battery backup sump pump for times that the power is out. This ensures that any water entering your home will still be pumped out and can prevent a flood in your basement. If your power has gone out due to inclement weather or heavy rainfall, a functional sump pump is an essential preventative measure.

Additional Power Outage Tips

  • Your food should be okay and stay cool for up to 4 hours in the fridge, especially if it is fully stocked and you keep the door closed. The food in your freezer will be okay for longer, about 48 hours if it is full. 
  • We love the quarter test for checking to see if your food thawed in your freezer during a power outage. And it’s simple and you can do it in advance and just leave it!

Here’s what you do:

  1. Place a cup of water in the freezer. Let it freeze. 
  2. Place a quarter on top of the ice. 
  3. If the power goes out and the quarter remains on top of the ice, your food is fine!
  • Turn off all your lights, except for one outside the house and one inside. This will help you and hydro crews know when power has been restored.
  • Make sure you have gas for your generator.

What NOT To Do During A Power Outage 

  • Don’t leave burning candles unattended.
  • Don’t use a gas stove to heat your home.
  • Don’t use charcoal, gas barbeques or camping stoves to cook food indoors. 
  • Don’t panic. As frustrating as this can be, it is temporary and there are many people working to get power restored, and many people in the same situation. Reach out to neighbours that might need help, contact a friend or family member that might still have power and go there if you need help or just a shower. There is always someone who is willing to help! 
  • Don’t go out, unless you need to. In some power outage situations, the city may ask people to stay home so that service crews can clear roads and work on downed power lines. 

Power outages can be inconvenient and even debilitating, so we hope you’ve gotten some insight into how best to tackle a power outage should it happen to you!

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About The Author
Julia Robertson

Julia is the administrative backbone of the LIFE Real Estate Group. With a long history of office management and an attention to customer service, Julia provides the highest level administrative support to the LIFEreg team. Among her many contributions, her responsibilities include social media and marketing. Her strong design knowledge is an asset to the team and she loves consulting clients with staging needs and preparing homes for sale.

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