With thousands of residents in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick left in the dark and possibly more power outages on the way, here’s a look at the best ways to stay safe and ride out the storm:

During a power outage

  • Check your own circuit breaker panel or fuse box to ensure the problem doesn’t stem from there.
  • Check for damaged or fallen services wires leading to your residence. If you spot them, STAY BACK at least 10 metres to minimize the risk of electrocution.
  • If neighbours’ homes are also without power, notify your electric supply authority. Do not phone 911.
  • Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment.
  • Turn thermostats down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored.
  • Turn off all lights, except one inside and one outside.
  • Don’t open your freezer or fridge unless absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if doors stay closed.
  • Refrain from the indoor use of BBQs, camping heating equipment, or home generators as they pose a carbon monoxide threat.
  • Make sure your residence has a working carbon monoxide detector, including a battery-powered back-up.
  • When lighting candles, use proper holders and keep out of reach of children. Never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Stay away from windows, doors and fireplaces.
  • If you are in a car, stop away from trees or power lines that might fall. Stay there.

If your house must be evacuated

  • Turn off the main breaker.
  • Turn off the water main where it enters the house.
  • Drain water from the plumbing system, starting at top of the house. Open all taps, and flush toilets several times. Open the drain valve, usually in the basement, and drain the hot-water tank.
  • If you have a sump pump, clear valuables from basement floor in case of flooding.
  • Leave natural gas service on unless officials tell you to turn it off.
  • Lock your home.
  • What to do after a power outage
  • Do not enter flooded basement unless sure the power is disconnected.
  • Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse-breaker panels until they have been checked by an electrician.
  • Replace the furnace flue if removed, and turn off the fuel to the standby heating unit.
  • Ensure that appliances and electronics are unplugged.
  • Turn the heating-system thermostats up first, wait a few minutes, reconnect fridge and freezer. Wait 10-15 minutes before reconnecting all other appliances.
  • Close drain valve in basement; turn on water supply.
  • Check food supplies in refrigerators, freezers and cupboards for signs of spoilage. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Restock emergency kit.

General tips

  • Avoid driving, and wait several hours after freezing rain ends so maintenance crews have time to spread sand and salt on roads.
  • If it is safe to do so, clear your surrounding property of the ice and snow, and sand or salt the ground.
  • Check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours.
  • Listen to the radio, watch television or consult online for information and instructions from local officials.

(Source: Government of Canada)