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What to do during a power outage

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Prepare for an emergencyDuring a power outage

Power outages can last for minutes, hours, days or even weeks. They can be caused by rain storms, snow storms, high winds, or when there is too much demand placed on the province's electrical grid. During a power outage, you may be without heating, hot water, or lighting. It is important to be prepared and stay safe.

Our Disaster Risk Explorer has information about the risk of disasters in Calgary and what the City is doing to prepare for it.

How to prepare for a power outage

  • Keep a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit in an easy-to-reach location. This kit contains commonly needed supplies for a family for up to three days.
  • Protect all electronic devices with a surge protector.
  • Purchase back-up batteries for essential electronics.

Staying​ safe during a power outage

  • Check with neighbours to see if the power outage is only affecting your home.
  • If only your house is without power, check the circuit breaker panel or fuse box.
  • Turn off or disconnect any electrical appliances and equipment to prevent damage from overload when power is restored.
  • Keep a cell phone handly to stay informed on the status of the power outage. Alternatively, listen to a battery-powered or wind-up radio for information.
  • Keep one light plugged in and switched on so – you know when the power comes back on.
  • Do not use camp stoves, kerosene heaters or barbeques indoors, as they emit carbon monoxide​. Gas stoves used as a heat source for long periods of time without ventilation will do the same.
  • Limit how often you open and close your refrigerator and freezer doors to help food stay cool. Additionally, use a cooler filled with ice or snow to keep food cold.

What if you see a downed powerline?

Call 911 to report the situation immediately. Do not approach or touch the power line. Always assume that downed lines are energized. Keep yourself, pets, and others at least 10 meters (33 feet) away from the wires or anything that is in contact with the wires.

If you are in a vehicle with a downed line touching it, do not get out of the car unless the car is on fire. If you must get out, jump as far away from the car as possible landing with your feet together, and then hop or shuffle your feet to avoid shock.

If an electrical wire has fallen on a car, do not approach the car or attempt to rescue the person in the car.

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After a power outage

  • Turn on only the most essential appliances. Wait 10 to 15 minutes before reconnecting other appliances.
  • Check the fridge, freezer and cupboards for spoiled food. If the power is out for more than 48 hours, all refrigerated food must be thrown out.

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