17 Dec Before, during and after a power outage
Nearly a million people were left in the dark during the mega power failure last November (2019). Many were far from thinking they would stay almost a week without light nor heat.
Everything you should know in case of an outage
Before an outage
First, do you know the number to reach if you want to report an outage? Or, better yet, did you know that there is an app for cell phones in the App Store or Google Play?
The app can be found under Hydro-Québec. Otherwise, the number is: 1 800 790-2424.
Note that the app makes it possible to track outages and receive notifications to keep you up to date.
- Put together an emergency kit and keep it handy :
- Pocket flashlights
- Spare batteries
- First-aid supplies
- Supplies for people with special needs
- Battery-powered radio
- Warm blankets
- Non-perishable food
- List of telephone numbers – home and business
- Games, books or other pastimes
- A battery-powered flashlight is better than using candles, which are a fire hazard.
- A battery-powered radio will be useful to monitor the situation in case of a widespread power outage.
- Have a backup power supply or a temporary place to stay up for anyone who relies on a life-support device.
During an outage
- To avoid short circuits or other damage when service is restored, unplug computers, TVs, DVD players, cell phone chargers and any other electronic devices that may generate heat.
- If you’re planning on using fuel-burning heaters, lights, generators or portable stoves designed for outdoor use, you should know that they can cause asphyxiation or poisoning if used inside, because they have no exhaust system to evacuate carbon monoxide. We recommend that you do not use this equipment indoors.
If you have to leave the house
- Shut off the water at the main valve.
- Unplug all electrical devices and appliances—particularly electronics—except for the refrigerator and freezer.
- Ensure that all fires are out and the kitchen range is off.
- Turn off the circuit breaker for the water heater.
- Empty the water pipes by opening all hot and cold water faucets, including those for the dishwasher and washing machine.
- Pour anti-freeze into:
- all toilet bowls and tanks
- the drain lines of the dishwasher and washing machine
- bath and shower drains and
- the S-shaped drain traps of all sinks
- Remove all containers that could burst when frozen.
- If you heat with oil, make sure fuel isn’t pooling in the furnace.
- If you have a hot water heating system, bleed all the radiators.
After an outage
- If you must leave your home or business, wait for Québec’s civil protection authorities to give the order to return, or make sure it’s safe to go back.
- If you notice any damage to your electrical installations, make sure to have them inspected by a master electrician.
- Gradually turn electrical appliances back on, including heating appliances (e.g., baseboard heaters).
- Wait until the temperature and humidity have returned to normal before turning electronic devices back on (TVs, stereo, computers, microwave oven, etc.).
- Once the power is back on, see whether your electrical installation has been damaged. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, notice a smell or feel heat, turn off the power at the distribution panel (circuit breaker or fuse panel). Call a master electrician for advice, if necessary.
- Don’t walk through water to get to the distribution panel (circuit breaker or fuse panel).
- Check the food left in the refrigerator and freezer during your absence and throw out any that has spoiled.
- Restock your emergency kit and provisions.