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Power Outages - Emergency Preparedness

  • FlashlightDo not call 9-1-1. If a power outage leaves you without heat for some time, prevent pipes from freezing and bursting by draining them and shutting off the main water supply. Before you drain your pipes, you may first want to collect water in clean containers for emergency drinking and cleaning purposes.
  • Open all faucets, including your water heater. If you have an electric hot water heater, drain the hot water heating system by turning it off and leaving the valves open.
  • Add plumbing antifreeze or recreational vehicle winterizing solution to the toilet and other pipes and traps with standing water. If you have a septic tank, antifreeze could damage it so pump the chemical from the plumbing fixtures and pipes before they are refilled with water.
  • Do not drink water to which you have added antifreeze. If your pipes do freeze, do not attempt to thaw them yourself. Contact a qualified professional.
  • If you have no running water and wish to continue to use your toilet, fill your bathtub from an alternate water source, eg. with snow or water from a creek. After using the toilet pour a bucket of water in the tank, then flush.
  • If your basement is flooding and you have no emergency generator to power a sump pump or other means to pump the basement, move all furniture and anything of value to a dry location and disconnect the power supply to prevent damage when the power comes back on.

During a Power Failure

  • Remember that meat, dairy and frozen foods can be hazardous if not stored properly.
  • Use up perishables and foods from the refrigerator first, then use foods from the freezer, then non-perishables.
  • A full freezer keeps food frozen for about 2 days; a half-full freezer for 1 day, covering with blankets will provide extra insulation.
  • Post a list of contents to minimize opening.
  • The refrigerator will keep food cool for 4 - 6 hours, depending on the kitchen temperature; keep the door shut as much as possible.
  • For emergency cooking, use a barbeque, charcoal grill or camp stove, outdoors only; heat food indoors using candle warmers, chafing dishes and fondue pots.

When disaster strikes

  • Remain calm. Co-ordinated emergency services are responding.
  • Check for updates.
    • Halton Region’s Enhanced Community Emergency Notification Service (eCNS) is an emergency telephone notification service. It will be used in the event of a major disaster or catastrophe to communicate updates about emergency conditions, and other vital information, in addition to what you’ll receive from other sources.
    • Check our websites for updates about emergency conditions, what to do, where to go or other information you should know.
    • You may also receive information from television, radio and other sources, including door-to-door notification.
  • Help family members and neighbours.
  • Don’t forget your pets!

Be emergency ready – prepare for the first 72 hours of an emergency

  • Know the risks
  • Make a plan
  • Get a survival kit
  • More information

    To download Halton’s Personal Emergency Preparedness Guide, learn more about Halton’s Emergency Management program and what you can do to be prepared, visit, dial 311 or visit your local government website.