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Staying Safe and Warm During a Winter Power Outage

Last week's winter storm brought ice, snow, and power outages. 

Here are some tips on how to stay warm during a winter power outage: 

  • Stay inside, and dress warm.
  • Close off unneeded rooms and place draft blocks at the bottom of doors to minimize cold air entering the house.
  • Cover windows at night.
  • Be aware of the temperature in your home. Infants and elderly people are more susceptible to the cold. You may want to stay with friends or relatives or go to a shelter if you cannot keep your home warm.
  • When the power is restored, there will be a power surge. To protect your circuits and appliances, switch off lights and unplug appliances. Leave one light switched on as a quick reminder that the power is restored.

Apart from the cold, there are other dangers winter storms can bring. Downed power lines could be submerged in snow and ice, making them difficult to see. Therefore, stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, use caution and treat all downed and hanging lines as if they are energized. Stay away, warn others to stay away, and immediately contact your utility company.

“A power line does not need to be sparking or arcing to be energized,” says Matt Boshaw, CEC CEO & General Manager. “It’s best to assume all low and downed lines are energized and dangerous. Lines that appear to be dead can become energized as crews work to restore power, or sometimes from improper use of emergency generators.”

If you use a standby generator for temporary power, make sure it has a transfer safety switch to cut off at the breaker box before you operate it. If you use a portable generator, never plug it into a wall outlet.  These precautions prevent back feed, which is when electricity travels from the generator back through the power lines. Back feed creates danger for anyone near lines, particularly crews working to restore power.

If you are a motorist caught out in the storm, never drive over a downed line because that could pull down the pole and other equipment, causing additional hazards. If you see a downed line, do not get out of your car. The safest place is inside the vehicle. 

Click here to learn more about being safe during a power outage. 


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