Be Prepared for Power Failures

Be Prepared for Power Failures


We are all vulnerable to unexpected power disruptions, but with a few preparations made in case of an emergency, potential inconveniences and dangers can be avoided, or at least minimized. After the recent storm that hit Ottawa, you may have realized that you are not as prepared as you would like to be in the event of an emergency. 

As a starting point, every home should have emergency supplies set aside that include:

  • Candles and matches
  • Flashlights (at least one per member of the household plus a spare)
  • Extra batteries
  • Paper and pencils
  • A selection of dried foods and/or canned goods
  • Manual can opener
  • First-Aid Kit
  • At least one large jug of water
  • Prescription medications
  • Extra set of keys for your car and house
  • Small amount of cash in small denominations ($5, $10 bills)
  • Copies of important family documents and contacts 
  • Emergency plan
  • Pet food

The quantity of certain items and the duration you need your emergency kit to last depends on many factors that are unique to you including;

  • How many people does your kit need to support?
  • How long do you need your emergency supplies to last?
  • How often do emergencies like power failures occur in your area?
  • What temperatures and weather do you need to be prepared for?
  • Do you have pets, small children, or a family member(s) with a disability that may require other items or additional assistance?

If possible, it is always advisable to have an even more extensive emergency kit ready for emergencies. Consider having on hand one all-weather emergency blanket per household member, waterproof clothing and footwear, and a small cash of consumables like fuel and food supplies. 

If you take daily medication, renew your prescription before it runs out to ensure a sufficient supply in case of emergency. If you or a family member use an epi-pen or other emergency medication on a regular basis, keep a spare on hand and check periodically to ensure that it has not expired. Likewise, all battery-powered devices should be kept charged - including computers, mobile phones, and mobility vehicles. If you have a power bank/portable charger you like, consider purchasing a second to have charged and ready to go. For an awesome power bank that you can use day to day and also in an emergency, check out this one

For some, the inconveniences of a power-outage can outweigh the cost of installing a gas-powered generator. Whether you’re ready to incur the expense or simply plan to stock up on supplies, it's always wise to take steps that will see you and your loved ones through a power failure. 

Check out these pre-made kits you can purchase to take the work out of creating your own emergency kit! The Red Cross also has a great checklist for creating your own, as well as a link to where you can purchase their approved kits.  

If having a bigger emergency supply cache sounds like a good idea to you, here are some more items to consider including:

  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask for every member of the household (in case of contaminated air, or a global pandemic)
  • Battery powered or wind-up radio
  • Wind-up flashlight
  • Water (2 liters per person per day)
  • Small stockpile of non-perishable food items. Utilize coupons, deals, and use the FIFO rule (first in, first out) to avoid food waste. Here is a great blog about how to get started. 
  • Hand sanitizer, hand soap, disinfectant wipes
  • Disposable gloves
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Moist towelettes for hygiene
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties
  • Multi-tool or a small selection of tools (wrench, pliers, hammer)
  • Pocket knife
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone back-up battery
  • Non-prescription medications like pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, laxatives...etc.
  • A spare pair of prescription eyeglasses
  • Femenine hygiene products 
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream (if you have small children)
  • Pet food, water, and dishes if you have a pet
  • Sleeping bag per each member of the household
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, plastic utensils...etc
  • Books, games, puzzles, cards, or other activities for children
  • Toilet paper
  • Plastic sheeting

For more resources, check out the following links! 

Hydro Ottawa: Outage Centre 

Government of Canada: Power Outages - What to do?

Ontario.ca: Emergency Management Plans

Ontario.ca: Be prepared for an emergency

Canadian Red Cross: Power Outages - Before, During & After

Hydro Ottawa: Outage Safety

Hydro One: Storm Centre Map

Good2GoCo Food & Food Storage (Canadian, family owned company that produces and sells Freeze Dried food, also great for camping!)

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