In Québec, bad weather often causes power failures. When a power failure lasts, certain risks to health and safety increase, such as the risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and food poisoning. You can take certain steps to limit the risks in the event of a power failure:
Have an emergency kit on hand. If your life or that of a relative depends on a life-support apparatus that operates electrically, have an emergency power source available or plan to go to the home of a family member or friend if necessary.
Inspect your heating system
Here are some prevention tips:
- Have your heating system inspected and cleaned by a qualified technician once a year;
- If you have a backup heating system, ensure that it meets safety standards and that it is installed in accordance with manufacturer instructions and the rules in force; and
- Install a carbon monoxide detector if you plan on using a combustion heating system (for example, a gas-fuelled heater or a wood fireplace).
Take action during a power failure
Follow these instructions:
- Avoid frequent opening of the refrigerator or freezer door, to ensure that the food lasts longer;
- Sort the food (in French only) in case of a prolonged power failure;
- Do not use an outdoor cooking appliance indoors (propane barbecue, hibachi-style grill, etc.);
- Lower the thermostats to a minimum to avoid an overload when the power is restored;
- Keep a lamp plugged in to know when the power is restored;
- Flush the toilet and partially open the taps to run a small amount of water several times a day, to prevent the pipes from freezing, unless the municipality advises otherwise; and
- Follow the operating instructions for your backup heating system.
If there is a power failure during the winter and you remain in your home, be alert for symptoms of hypothermia and follow the advice below to reduce the danger. However, it is not necessary to take risks; leave your home if you believe your safety is in jeopardy.
Source and reference for further information: : Urgence Québec – Power Failure