How to Prepare for a Power Outage

With the recent ice and wind storms that hit Collingwood, many people lost power. This article will detail how to prevent this from happening again with tornado weather on its way.

We can all remember what we doing during the great blackout of 2003, where most in Ontario were without power for two days. Recent ice storms also knocked out power for many Ontario residents for days this spring. Have incidents like these prepared us more? There are many out there who aren’t sure how to prepare for power outages and this article will let you know how to do it.


A power outage means two things for your food: you can’t cook it and you can’t keep it cool. This is probably the biggest problem during a power outage as you’ll want to eat and you don’t want to waste food. During a power outage, don’t keep opening the fridge or freezer, as food will stay cool for four hours in an unopened refrigerator and 24 hours in an unopened freezer. A digital response thermometer will tell you quickly if the internal temperature is cold enough for you to eat the food safely.

Always have canned and other packaged foods in your pantry for times like these. Canned tuna or oysters with crackers can be a filling dinner, great for times when you can’t cook. Bottles of water are important to have on hand too, as sometimes tap water is not safe to drink during power outages. The Red Cross suggests having one gallon per person, per day with a three-day supply of both food and water.


Flashlights and candles are great things to have on hand during a power outage, but remember you’ll need fresh batteries and a lighter or matches to use them. Store both on each floor of your home, where you will be able to find them easily. The Red Cross actually suggests not using candles during a power outage as there is a risk of fire.


A power outage in the winter can be a real bummer! To avoid heat loss when you can’t turn on your heat, ensure your home is well-insulated beforehand. Stay in one room, where you can artificially insulate it by putting blankets on windows and doors. Be careful using outdoor appliances like grills for heating, as you increase the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have a working BBQ, you can heat up items like bricks or bags of rice to keep under blankets with you for warming. Have extra blankets and these bags of rice on hand for when you need them.

The Little Things

Keep some spare cash in your home for times like these when debit machines will be down. As well, always make sure your vehicle has some gas in it, as gas stations won’t work during a power outage either. A charged extra battery or battery source for your cell phone or other devices is also a great item to keep on hand for times like these.


Many people went out and bought generators during the last large power outage. These are great for getting the heat to turn on for a bit, for animal cages that need to be kept at a good temperature, for your refrigerator and also for your sump pump. Spending the night without power bailing out your basement is not a great scenario and a generator can be a very helpful tool to ensure your basement doesn’t get flooded. You’ll have to consider your budget and what exactly you’ll want the generator for before buying one.