Power Outage Safety
At Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, we do our best to make sure you always have power at the flick of a switch, but at times, due to our ever changing weather conditions, like extreme cold, blizzards or high winds, we are unable to guarantee uninterrupted service. Most power outages last for just a few moments. In extreme cases, outages can last for more than a day.
When your power goes out, be prepared. Print and keep this information handy.
- Find a flashlight;
- check the circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If required, replace fuses with the same size only, or reset breakers. If you aren’t sure what to do, call an electrician;
- if everything is okay in the circuit breaker panel or fuse box, check to see if the power is out in your neighbourhood;
- call Hydro’s Power Outage and Emergencies line at 1-888-764-9376 (1-888-76-HYDRO);
- turn off all your light switches, leave one on to signal you when the power comes back on;
- turn off all appliances with sensitive electronics such as your garage door opener, VCRs, microwaves, televisions, computers, etc;
- don’t turn off your refrigerator or freezer – you might forget to turn them back on.
Prepare an emergency kit and include the following items:
- extra batteries;
- matches and candles (place candles on stable furniture in sturdy holders, never leave candles unattended and keep out of reach of children);
- if you have a fireplace, keep firewood handy;
- first aid kit;
- bottled water (2 litres per person per day);
- any medications you may need;
- battery or crank operated radio;
- corded telephone or a fully charged cell phone;
- non-perishable foods;
- warm clothing and blankets;
- games, cards and books to keep everyone busy.
In case of an Electrical Emergency such as downed wires, lightning strikes, etc, call Hydro’s Power Outage and Emergencies line at 1-888-737-1296 (1-888-76-HYDRO). You may also need to call the local authorities, RCMP or RNC. Remember to stay away from downed wires – do not touch them or try to move them. Never attempt to move anything caught in downed power lines.
Portable generator safety precautions
A generator can be very useful during an extended power outage, but they can also be very dangerous. Always follow all manufacturers’ instructions and contact a qualified electrician or electrical inspector if you have questions.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odourless gas in the engine exhaust. You may not smell the exhaust but could still be exposed to CO.
- Never use a portable generator indoors, including inside a garage or other enclosed or partially enclosed area;
- only operate portable generators outdoors, and at a location where the exhaust cannot enter into your home or other buildings through doors or windows;
- if you start to feel dizzy, nausea, a headache or tired while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention;
- use a battery operated CO and propane detector at home. This is also advisable for homes that have a natural gas fired forced air heating system.
Prevent Electric Shock and Electrocution
Serious accidents or fire can result when a home generator is improperly connected to an existing house wiring system. Generators that are not isolated can feed back into the electrical grid and possibly electrocute anyone coming into contact with them, including neighbours and Hydro or contractor workers.
- It is not permissible to connect a home portable or stationary generator directly to a house wiring system without the proper installation of a CSA-approved transfer switch. An electrical permit is required for the installation and the transfer switch and generator must be inspected and approved by the local electrical inspector. For more information on the correct way to connect your generator and to obtain a permit, please call your electrical contractor or the electrical inspector in your area;
- never plug a portable generator into a regular household electrical outlet. This can also cause back-feeding to the electrical grid, which is a serious electrical danger to your neighbours and utility workers;
- plug appliances directly into the generator or use a properly sized CSA-approved 3-pronged extension cord in good condition;
- use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) portable extension cord if using the portable generator to power electrical tools for outdoor use;
- keep the generator dry and protected from rain and snow.
Improper fuel handling, improperly installed or overheated generators are fire hazards.
- Do not store fuel in the home. Fuels should be stored in properly labeled and vented fuel storage containers in a well-ventilated building or storage shed away from living areas. Do not store fuel near the generator or other fuel-burning or heat-producing appliance;
- shut down the generator and allow it to cool before refueling;
- do not overload the generator.
Cooking safety precautions
Portable stoves, lamps and other camping equipment can be useful, but they should be stored, along with their fuels, in a shed or garage that is separated from the house. Liquid fuels give off combustible vapours and should be kept outside the house at all times. Outdoor and charcoal barbecues should never be used indoors. They are a fire and safety hazard, and can emit deadly carbon monoxide.
Protecting your equipment
For additional information – check out the Power Outages page on the Get Prepared website: http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/pwrtgs-wtd/index-eng.aspx