What you need to know, post-storm
It was a long weekend across Ontario most of us won’t soon forget, as a severe storm brought down trees and power lines leaving a giant trail to clean up in its wake. Hydro crews across the province are working around the clock to build a temporary by-pass to restore power to local communities after four transmission towers were toppled by the storm. Hydro has advised that it may take several more days for many properties to get power back. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during the outage — everything from food safety and power outage maps to documenting damage for an insurance claim.
If you see a downed powerline, stay back 10 metres and alert your local hydro provider. If your house has a sump pump that doesn’t have a backup power supply, clear valuables from the basement in case flooding occurs. Ottawa Bylaw has confirmed, that generators can be run 24/7 for the time being. And remember, do not enter a property if it’s not safe to do so.
Local Power Outage Maps
Connect with your insurance broker. Document damage with video and photos. One of the first things to do is to list and document storm damage to your home, vehicle or belongings using video and photos. As homeowners and/or policyholders, we have an obligation to try to mitigate damage. Tarp holes and patch up what you can in order to prevent further damage. Our brokers are standing by to best advise you on the next steps and set expectations throughout the claims process. Please note that there are varying levels of coverage especially around fallen trees and spoiled food.
“TAKE PHOTOS. DOCUMENT THE DAMAGE. IF YOU ARE DOING ANY CLEAN UP YOURSELF OR PAYING SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT, KEEP ITEMIZED RECEIPTS SHOWING WHAT YOU’VE SPENT AS YOU MAY BE REIMBURSED” SAYS MATTHEW CARR, PRESIDENT OF GIFFORD CARR INSURANCE GROUP.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has noted it will be some time before the industry has a sense of just how much damage the storm caused. So, it is important we remain patient as all insurance companies will be processing an abundance of claims across the province.
Rural counties that rely on wells for water should be aware that treatment systems might not be working while the power is out. It is advised to use another source of water or boil it for one minute then let it cool, before using it. Once the power is back on, residents should flush their lines and take a sample to make sure the treatment system is working again.
Food and freezers
Food that’s been in refrigerators, especially dairy, meat and leftovers, likely isn’t safe to eat anymore. The Government of Canada provides tips for power outages. The official motto of public health institutions: “When in doubt, throw it out.”.
Heating and cooking
In the spring season, you can cook what you can on the barbecue – outdoors. Never to use never use barbecues (charcoal or gas) or portable fuel-fired heaters/generators indoors as they give off carbon monoxide, which is odourless and can be life-threatening.
Everyone is advised to use proper candle holders and not to leave candles unattended or where children could grab them. Fire is a big danger during a prolonged power outage. Sleeping bags and wool blankets are a safe way to stay warm without electricity. Conserve battery power where they can and only use flashlights or headlamps when necessary.
City services and resources
Local municipalities hit hard by the storm have set up multiple emergency reception centres, many with power charging stations, showers and washrooms. Find your local resource here:
Ottawa | Severe Storm Resources
Be careful of your surroundings and report emergencies by calling 911. If you must go out, some traffic lights and signals throughout the most affected areas remain down. When traffic lights are out or flashing red, intersections should be treated as four-way stops.
The Ottawa LRT system had been down after the storm on Saturday, but OCTranspo reported its return to end-to-end operations by about 11 p.m. the evening after the storm. Note, there are still some detours to routes, find more information on the OC Transpo website.
To our Gifford Carr community, we are here to help. As the clean-up continues and claims are processed through the coming weeks, we are on your team working for you. Protecting what matters to you is always our top priority.