Gusty winds are great for flying kites, windsurfing and hoisting flags, but they’re not all fun and games. High winds can bring down power lines, cause property damage and pose life-threatening dangers to people and pets.
Even if power has been restored or never went out, you may have sagging electrical wires or electrical pipes/masts pulled away from the building. These could be shock or fire hazards and should be repaired.
Cleaning up after the Storm
When cleaning up after the storm, follow these tips:
- Stay back! Downed powerlines may be live and are extremely dangerous. Electricity can travel through water and the ground around powerlines. Stay back about the length of a school bus (10 metres or 33 feet);
- Call 9-1-1 and the local electricity distribution company to report any downed lines. Remain well back; and
- Wait until the power is off or powerlines are fixed before starting yard cleanup. Downed powerlines may be hidden beneath debris and tree branches.
Looking for Damage to Electrical Service
- As homeowner, you typically own electrical equipment from where the wires attach to the house. This includes the electrical service mast and the wires in it;
- Check to see if the mast is pulled away from the wall, broken, or detached from the meter base. Look for sagging wires; and
- If you see this or suspect damage, contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor. Ask the Licensed Electrical Contractor to check it and make necessary repairs.
Hire someone who can legally do electrical work in Ontario.
Getting Repairs Done
Only Licensed Electrical Contractors can do residential electrical repairs. They will file a notification with ESA, which generates an official record of the work. Hiring anyone other than a Licensed Electrical Contractor will delay having your power restored.
Once you have hired a Licensed Electrical Contractor:
- The contractor will file a notification with ESA so there is a record of the work;
- When contractors complete repairs, they will notify ESA; and
- The contractor will get a copy of the ESA Certificate of Acceptance. Ask for a copy of this from the contractor or ESA for your insurance company.
Portable generators can provide security and comfort during power outages. However, they can cause electrical shock and fire hazards if connected or used incorrectly.
Follow these tips to use your generator safely:
- Never use a generator indoors. They produce fatal carbon monoxide fumes, so set them up outside away from windows, doors or vents to your house or your neighbor’s house;
- If you’re buying a generator, make sure it has a certification mark from an approved certification agency;
- Don’t attach a portable generator directly to your home’s electricity system. It could cause power to flow back into the power grid and electrocute you or a utility worker, or damage the system; and
- If you want to permanently connect your generator to your home’s system, you need to file an electrical notification of work with ESA. A Licensed Electrical Contractor must make the connection.