Extreme and changing weather conditions can cause ice to form on power lines. Ice weight and snow accumulation can put a lot of stress on power lines and damage equipment.
To help keep you and your family safe during ice storms, follow these electrical safety tips:
- Heavy accumulation of snow and ice can bring trees and branches down onto power lines causing power outages and electrical hazards. Regularly inspect the trees surrounding your property. Call your local utility to trim branches away from overhead power lines before they lead to a bigger issue;
- Try to stay warm and safe. Make sure portable heaters and electric blankets have a recognized certification mark; and
- If you lose control of your vehicle due to road conditions and hit a power pole, STAY in your vehicle (unless your car is on fire). Getting out of the vehicle puts you at risk for shock. If the danger of fire means you need to get out, make sure not to touch your vehicle. Jump with your feet together and hop away. Stay back the length of a school bus from the downed powerline.
Portable standby generators, when used properly, can provide an alternative power source. However, they can create electrical shock and fire hazards if connected or used incorrectly.
Be careful when clearing up snow, ice and debris around your home. Stay clear of electrical wires.
- Do not attempt to clear tree limbs that are leaning on or caught in powerlines. Report them to your local utility.
- Be careful when carrying and moving ladders. Do not make contact with overhead powerline or even get near them. Electricity can jump from the wires to items like ladders, so you don't even have to make physical contact to risk shock or injury. Stay back 10 meters (about the length of a school bus).
- Be careful when digging through snow or chipping ice. Make sure that downed powerlines are not buried under snow or ice.
Checking for Damages
Visually check (do not touch!) for damages to stand pipes/masts. These are the pipes typically attached to the side of a house, connecting incoming hydro wires to your electrical meter. If the pipe/mast is hanging off, pulled away, or damaged, contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor to arrange repairs.
Flooding in Your Home
Burst pipes, burst or backed-up water mains and other sources may have caused flooding inside your home.
Be careful! Electricity can move through water or wet flooring and cause a severe electrical shock. DO NOT enter your basement if water is above the level of electrical outlets or near your electrical panel. Wait until your utility has disconnected the power.
Hire someone who can legally do electrical work in Ontario.