EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS Be Prepared – Plan for Emergencies


Be Prepared – Plan for Emergencies

Becoming Emergency Ready

An emergency can occur at any time and anywhere. When it happens will you be ready? Follow these three steps to become emergency ready.

  • Know Your Risks

    Step 1- Knowing the risks allows you to plan for the most likely emergency scenarios you will encounter.

  • Write Your Plan

    Step 2- Make an emergency plan to help you and your family know what to do in case of an emergency

  • Get an Emergency Kit

    Step 3-In an emergency, you will need some basic supplies. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.



Norfolk County Emergency Response Plan



  • Dam Failure

    Hazard information

    A dam is a structure that holds back water in a river, lake, pond or stream. Dams are made of concrete, timber cribs filled with rocks or steel sheet piling. They can also be formed from a bank of earth or rock fill.

    Dams are used to:

    • produce hydropower
    • support recreation and tourism
    • support navigation
    • mitigate high or low water levels
    • limit the spread of invasive species
    • support wetland habitat management


    Extreme floods are a primary cause of dam failure. When lake and river levels rise due to extreme rainfall or extensive snow runoff, water levels can exceed the capacity of the dam. If the dam fails, the flood situation gets worse.

    Safety tips

    If you’re an individual

    Awareness is your best defense. If you notice warning or caution signs at the dam site, follow the instructions, stay back and leave the area.

    If you live, work, or play near a dam, stay informed by listening to the latest warnings and advisories on the radio and television.

    Contact Norfolk County and/or 911 immediately if you notice:

    • dam failure due to structural issue, human error or natural extreme events
    • a washed out or unsafe water bridge
    • stored water released in an uncontrolled manner
    • observations such as, muddy water, ice jams, water over the dam deck and/or debris build up.
    • potential danger to people or watercrafts on, around or near dams,

    If you’re a dam owner

    • Practice your emergency preparedness plans annually to ensure you are ready to implement them during a dam failure emergency.  

      The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry provides technical guidance and best management practices for design, construction, operation, maintenance and safety of dams.. This includes guidance on dam safety, the identification of public safety hazards associated with dams, and how to eliminate or mitigate these hazards.

    The above information can be found at www.ontario.ca/page/dam-failures

  • Drought

    Hazard information

    Factors that affect drought conditions include:

    • lack of rain and warmer temperatures
    • increased evaporation
    • increased human water use

    Droughts can lead to:

    • lower water levels in lakes, streams and rivers
    • reduced soil moisture and groundwater levels
    • declines in drinking water supply
    • loss of commercial, industrial and agricultural production
    • declines in water quality and reduced hydroelectric production
    • declines in tourism, recreation and shipping
    • loss of fish and wildlife habitat

    Stages of low water conditions

    The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Conservation Authorities monitor precipitation, stream flow and water levels regularly to gauge water conditions. 

    Based on what they learn, they assign one of three warning levels to the situation:

    • Level 1 – the potential for water supply problems is identified
    • Level 2 – minor water supply issues are encountered
    • Level 3 – supply may no longer meet demand; social and economic impacts are anticipated

    Local government response to drought and low water levels can range from water conservation messaging to water use restrictions. 

    Safety tips

    If you are you are experiencing a drought, follow your local authority instructions for obtaining water.

    Prepare now

    If you are a homeowner or renter:

    • repair all leaks in taps and toilets
    • install low consumption toilets, dishwashers, shower heads, etc.
    • follow municipal water use restrictions (for example: lawn water, car washing)
    • install rain barrels to collect rain water from roofs which can be used to water gardens
    • choose drought-resistant trees and plants
    • wash only full loads of laundry or dishes

    If you are a farmer:

    • check your irrigation systems regularly for leaks
    • irrigate in the evening or later in the day when temperatures are lower and there is less evaporation loss
    • avoid irrigating during windy conditions
    • use rain gauges to measure how much water your crops are getting
    • ensure the irrigation system doesn’t water faster than the ground can absorb it

    If you work in the agricultural or manufacturing industries:

    • set up a water conservation program
    • survey plant operations
    • determine ways to increase efficiency


    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/drought

  • Earthquake

    Hazard Information

    An earthquake occurs when energy is released underground through the shifting and breaking of rocks underneath the surface. This can cause rapid and sudden shaking of the earth which last for seconds or several minutes.

    Earthquakes can cause damage to buildings, roads and bridges, and trigger landslides.

    Aftershocks are small earthquakes that happen hours, days or weeks after an earthquake. This can further damage buildings, roads and bridges weakened by the earthquake.

    Safety Tips

    If you are indoors:

    • Drop, cover and hold — go under a sturdy piece of furniture, cover your head and hold on
    • If there is nothing to duck under, crouch in a corner of the room
    • Stay away from windows — shattered glass can hurt you
    • Remain inside until the shaking stops
    • If you must leave, use stairs instead of an elevator in case of aftershocks, power outages or other damage
    • Note — fire alarms and sprinkler systems often go off during an earthquake, even if there is no fire

    If you are outdoors:

    • Drop to the ground in a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights
    • Stay away from objects that could fall and hurt you — remain there until the ground stops shaking
    • Look out for falling rocks and debris if you’re near slopes or cliffs

    If you’re in a vehicle:

    • Pull over to a safe place and stay inside
    • Listen to your radio for instructions from emergency officials
    • Don’t leave your vehicle if downed power lines are across it — wait for help
    • Stay away from anything that could collapse (e.g., bridges, overpasses, underpasses, buildings)
    • If you’re on a bus, stay in your seat until the bus stops — take cover in a protected place or sit in a crouched position and protect your head

    Prepare Now:

    Take the following steps so you and your family are prepared in the event of an emergency:

    • Find safe places in every room in your home — under a piece of sturdy furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you
    • Practice drop, cover and hold with your entire household
    • Bolt bookcases and other tall furniture to the wall
    • Hang heavy items (e.g., pictures and mirrors) away from beds, couches and places where people sleep or sit
    • Brace overhead light fixtures


    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/earthquakes

  • Erosion

    Hazard information

    A number of factors affect the pace of erosion:

    • heavy rainfall can carry topsoil down embankments, slopes and valley walls, causing slope instability or failure
    • human activity, such as building, digging and removing vegetation
    • residential and industrial development in vulnerable areas, such as lakefronts, river lots and ravines

    To manage erosion, under Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement, Norfolk County must have policies in the land use planning documents that direct land development away from hazardous areas.

    Safety tips

    Keep yourself and family away from steep and unstable slopes. If camping or hiking be aware of your surroundings and stay in marked camp sites and trails.

    Prepare now

     If you want to buy property:

    • confirm with Norfolk County that the property isn’t in a hazardous area
    • ensure there’s enough erosion protection along a slope, valley or watercourse – such as grass and shrubs
    • check that property structures are far from the edge of a ravine, valley wall, embankment or shoreline – slope failure can happen wherever there’s a slope
    • look for structural improvements like retaining walls that may indicate significant regrading of the area.

    If you own property:

    • don’t install pools or build structures that weaken the roots of vegetation or put pressure on a slope
    • discourage children and pets from sliding down or climbing a slope
    • don’t throw compost, leaves, gardening debris or garbage into a ravine. This material plugs the natural drainage outlets on the face of the slope and prevents groundwater from draining. This can weaken the slope, causing it to fail.


    Regrading is the process of grading for raising and/or lowering the levels of land. Such a project can also be referred to as a regrade.

    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/erosion

  • Extreme Heat

    Hazard Information

    Extreme heat can make you sick with:

    • heat stroke
    • heat rash
    • heat cramps.

    Norfolk County provides cooling stations during extreme heat. If an “Extreme Heat Alert” is in effect, check with Norfolk County to locate what’s available near you.

    Safety Tips

    If you feel dizzy, weak or overheated:

    • go to a cool place;
    • sit or lie down;
    • drink water;
    • wash your face with cool water.

    If you don’t feel better soon, seek medical help immediately

    If you are indoors:

    • Stay indoors to limit sun exposure
    • Take frequent cool showers or baths
    • Stay on lower floors if there’s no air conditioning
    • Drink water and eat light, regular meals — avoid using salt

    If you are outdoors:

    • Spend the hottest part of the day in air conditioned public buildings (e.g., mall, library, cooling station)
    • Drink water every 15 to 20 minutes even if you aren’t thirsty
    • Dress in light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing covering as much of your skin as possible
    • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face
    • Wear full UVA and UVB protection sunglasses
    • Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher 20 minutes before going outside
    • Apply lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher

    Prepare Now

    Take the following steps so you and your family are prepared in the event of an emergency:

    • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades or awnings
    • Include extra water, sunscreen and sunglasses (with full UVA and UVB protection) in your emergency survival kit

    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/extreme-heat

  • Flood

    Hazard Information

    Floods are typically caused by melting snow, ice jams, heavy spring rains and summer thunderstorms. Flash flooding is caused by violent rain storms or breaking dams — often occurring with little or no warning. They can damage property and injure or kill people.

    For more information on flooding and your safety, visit the Flood Forecasting and Warning Program page.

    Safety Tips

    If you are instructed by emergency officials to evacuate, do so immediately.

    If you are indoors:

    • Move essential items (and household chemicals) to an upper floor
    • Disconnect electrical appliances — don’t touch electrical equipment if you’re wet or standing in water
    • Bring in outdoor furniture (if you have time)
    • Don’t eat food that’s come in contact with flood waters

    If you are outdoors:

    • Move to higher ground if there is a chance of a flash flood
    • Don’t walk through moving water — you may fall
    • If you have to walk — look for where the water is not moving and use a stick to check the ground in front of you
    • Keep children away from flood water
    • Don’t drive through floodwaters

    Prepare Now

    Take the following steps so you and your family are prepared in the event of an emergency:

    • Put weather protection sealant around basement windows and ground-level doors
    • Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home
    • Install the drainage for downspouts a sufficient distance from your home to ensure water moves away from the building
    • Move documents and keepsakes out of the basement
    • Keep instructions for shutting off gas and water valves handy and read them carefully


    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/floods

  • Forest Fire

    For More Information follow this link:


    Hazard information

    While forest fires can be dangerous to people and property, being prepared in advance and knowing what actions to take can better protect you.

    For more information on forest fires and your safety, visit the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

    For more information on forest fires and your health, visit the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

    Safety tips

    If you are indoors:

    • Move away from outside walls
    • Close doors but leave them unlocked
    • Close windows, vents and blinds
    • Remove lightweight curtains
    • Open the fireplace damper and close fireplace screens
    • Turn a light on in each room to make your home easier to see in heavy smoke
    • Turn off air conditioners
    • Have a flashlight, extra batteries and a battery-powered radio close at hand in case the power goes out
    • Keep all family members and pets together

    If you are told to leave your home:

    • If instructed to evacuate immediately, do so
    • Choose a route away from fire hazards – see Ontario’s Emergency area orders and listen to radio or TV
    • Watch for changes in speed and direction of fire and smoke
    • Wear clothing and footwear that can protect you against flying sparks and ashes
    • Take your pets with you
    • If there is time before you leave:
      • Pack as you would for a week’s vacation: clothes, cash, medications, etc.
      • Remove flammable materials away from your house
      • Turn on sprinklers to wet the lawn
      • Turn off the gas line to your home
    • Tell someone when you leave and where you are going

    If you are outdoors during a wildfire:

    • Don’t try to outrun the fire — find a pond or river to crouch in
    • If you’re not near water, go to a lower level clearing
    • If you’re near a road, lie face down along the road cut or in the ditch. Cover yourself with soil or anything else that will shield you from the fire’s heat
    • Protect your lungs by breathing air closest to the ground through a moist cloth to avoid inhaling smoke

    Tips on how to be FireSmart

    • Shore lunch and campfires are responsible for wildfires every spring. Residents are reminded that they must tend their fires at all times, making sure to put them dead out before leaving. If it is windy, the risk of a wildfire is high – don’t burn!
    • Residents planning on burning grass, brush or other wood debris should consider composting or taking material to landfill sites instead. Each spring, grass fires get out of control and cause needless damage to barns, homes and cottages.
    • Planning to use fireworks this weekend? Under the Forest Fires Prevention Act(FFPA), any person who sets off fireworks is responsible to ensure any hot residue from the discharge of fireworks is extinguished. There may also be municipal by-laws in place regarding the use of fireworks.
    • Residents are reminded of their responsibilities under the FFPA. All forest fires are investigated to determine the cause, and a person can be held responsible for the costs of extinguishing or property damage incurred by a forest fire.
    • Residents within organized municipalities should check with local fire departments or municipal offices for any burning restrictions in their area. 

    If power outage results

    Prepare now

    • Review and discuss the safety tips with your entire household to make sure everyone understands what to do in a forest/wildland fire
    • Clearly mark all driveway entrances and display your address so that fire vehicles can easily find your home
    • Practice evacuating your home. Teach all household members the technique of “stop, drop and roll” in case clothes catch on fire
    • Install smoke detectors and sprinklers on every floor and by all sleeping areas
    • Plan several escape routes away from your home by car and by foot
    • Create a safety zone around your home. Modify or eliminate brush, trees and other vegetation near your home
    • Consult with Norfolk County Fire Department about making your home fire-resistant

    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/forest-fires-safety-information

  • Freezing Rain/Ice Storm

    Many Canadians take joy in the sight of big, fluffy snowflakes during winter. However, sometimes winter weather isn’t always so picturesque. Freezing rain coats our sidewalks and cars in ice, which is even more slippery than snow.

    Ice storm safety tips

    If severe freezing rain is in your local forecast, use these tips to help plan ahead and avoid injuries and property damage:

    • Keep your car off the road. Freezing rain can make roads slippery in seconds. If you can, wait to drive until roads have been salted or sanded, and stick to major routes. Remember that it takes longer to stop on snow and ice, so stay well behind the car in front of you.
    • If you must go outside, be aware of ice sheets and ice-covered branches or wires, which could break and fall under the weight.
    • See downed or hanging power lines? Let your power company or local police know. Assume the lines are still live and keep away from them. If you drive onto a downed line, stay in your car. Slowly maneuver your vehicle off the line, call the police and the power company and wait for help to arrive. Do not try to move the line.
    • Dress for the weather with boots or shoes with rubber soles, which offer the best traction.
    • Use handrails near stairs wherever possible on public transportation and when going in and out of buildings.
    • Stay tuned to your local radio and TV stations to listen for advisories or check weather.gc.ca for updates.
    • Make sure your home and car emergency kits are complete with the supplies you and your family would need to sustain for 72 hours in case officials close the roads or call for an evacuation.
    • Watch out for ice damming on your rooftop once the storm subsides. Consider having a licensed contractor remove snow and ice from your roof, overhangs, eaves and gutters.


    The following information was found: https://www.cooperators.ca/en/Resources/stay-safe/ice-storm-safety.aspx


  • Landslide and Sinkhole

    Hazard information

    Many landslides occur within Ontario. These events can damage property and hurt people.

    Sinkholes, landslides and groundwater contamination can happen due to:

    • building or construction in unstable areas
    • loss of vegetation, heavy rainfall or water from spring runoff
    • earthquake, explosions and heavy vehicle traffic

    Risk areas include bedrock composed of unusual rock formations or land that’s composed of unstable soils.

    Areas with unstable soils and bedrock include:

    • the Niagara Escarpment including the Bruce Peninsula
    • Guelph, Rockwood and Elora
    • Manitoulin Island
    • portions of eastern Ontario

    Safety tips

    Keep yourself and family well away from landslides and sinkholes.

    Prepare now

     If you live in a risk area or are buying or building property:

    • check with Norfolk County to ensure the property isn’t in a designated hazard area
    • follow appropriate land use measures

    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/landslides-and-sinkholes

  • Nuclear Incident

    Hazard Information

    The chance of a serious accident at a nuclear facility in Ontario is very low.

    There are 5 nuclear facilities located in and around Ontario:

    Nuclear Implementing Plans


    Safety Tips

    People who live or work within 10 km of a nuclear reactor should know what to do if there’s an accident:

    • Go inside and turn on your radio, TV or computer
    • Listen to media for instructions from the provincial government
    • Follow the directions provided by the provincial government


    Have your potassium iodide (KI) pills nearby.

    • One way to protect yourself from radioactive iodine is to take a potassium iodide (KI) pill. 
    • KI is only to be taken when instructed to do so by provincial authorities.
    • Further Information on KI is available from the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care: Potassium Iodide Tablets (KI) Fact Sheet.


    Emergency Bulletins will be issued by Ontario through local radio and television stations, and social media. These bulletins will:

    • Identify that a concern exists and where it’s occurring
    • Advise on precautionary and protective measures
    • Announce when the emergency is over

    Normally people are evacuated from an area well before radiation is released into the atmosphere – so radioactive contamination is very unlikely.


    If there is a concern, you may be asked to:

    • Stay indoors
    • Close all windows and doors
    • Turn off heating or air conditioning to avoid bringing potentially contaminated air indoors
    • Be ready to leave your home if the situation changes


    If you’re told to leave your home:

    • Close and lock windows and doors
    • Follow instructions and routes given by officials
    • Bring with you:
      • important documents and identification;
      • sufficient clothing, medication, canned or dried food, water, cash;
      • specialty items — baby needs, medical equipment;
      • pets, food, carriers, leashes, vaccination forms.


    Prepare Now

    • Review and discuss the safety tips with your entire household to make sure everyone understands what to do in a nuclear incident.
    • Plan several evacuation routes away from your home by car and by foot.
    • Sign up for emergency alerts from the Province of Ontario. Subscribers receive timely and accurate information during an emergency via Twitter, email, text messaging or Facebook.


    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/nuclear-incident


  • Oil and Gas

    Harzard Information

    The very first commercial oil production in North America started in Ontario in 1858. Since that time, many tens of thousands of wells have been drilled in the province, predominantly in southern Ontario. Today, we have more than 3000 active oil and gas wells in Ontario. Some orphaned wells may not have any visible infrastructure above ground.

    The following are potential hazards associated with oil and gas wells:

    • Leaking wells – if fluids are escaping from the well, there may be surface indications such as soil staining and vegetation die-off.
    • Hydrogen Sulphide – a poisonous gas (rotten egg smell) that may be released from leaking wells.
    • High pressure / Flammability – natural gas and oil may be released at high pressures around wells. These fluids are flammable and combustible.
    • Subsidence – sinking of the ground over existing or past solution-mined caverns.
    • Blowouts – occur when unexpected natural gas is encountered and gas/oil/ fluid is released at the drilling rig sometimes resulting in fires or spills.

    The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Petroleum Operations Section (POS) develops and enforces the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, regulations and provincial operating standards.

    Safety tips

    People who are property owners should be mindful:

    • before you buy a property, check to determine if there are any records of petroleum wells.
    • if developing a property, check to determine if there are any records of petroleum wells.  Check with Norfolk County for any setback requirements.  If developing in an area of known activity, have a contingency plan to deal with any unrecorded wells.
    • wells are not registered on title. If you purchase a property with a well, you should consult with your lawyer and insurance provider to determine responsibilities.

    Information about wells can be obtained through the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Library.

    Prepare now

    For more information contact the Petroleum Operations Section by telephone at 519-873-4634 or email POSrecords@ontario.ca.

    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/oil-and-gas

  • Pandemic

    Pandemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads throughout the global population. It is different than an epidemic, which is usually contained within a region or country.

    The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care works with local public health units and healthcare providers to prepare for a flu pandemic:

    • monitor flu in Ontario and in the rest of the world;
    • stockpile antiviral drugs and equipment;
    • deploy drugs and protective equipment to where they are needed quickly;
    • develop emergency plans for delivering healthcare services;
    • administer vaccines as they become available.

    Hazard Information

    Pandemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads throughout the global population.

    Pandemics may arise from a new strain of influenza. Since the virus is new, the human population is likely to have little to no immunity against it.

    Safety Tips

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for about 15 seconds, including:
      • before and after eating;
      • after you have been in a public place;
      • after using the washroom;
      • after coughing and sneezing;
      • after touching surfaces that other people also touch.
    • Stay healthy by eating well, drinking lots of water, getting regular exercise and plenty of rest
    • Get your annual flu shot
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
    • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

    Prepare Now

    Add these items to your emergency survival kit:

    • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer that’s between 60 and 90% alcohol
    • Medicines for headaches, coughs and fevers
    • Thermometer
    • Anti-diarrheal medication
    • Drinks with electrolytes

    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/pandemic

    Resources and Information:

  • Power Outage

    For local power outage information, visit: 

    Hyrdo One power outage map

    Before a power outage

    • You can install a non-electric standby stove or heater. Choose heating units that are not dependent on an electric motor, electric fan, or some other electric device to function. It is important to adequately vent the stove or heater with the type of chimney flue specified for it. Never connect two heating units to the same chimney flue at the same time.
    • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned every fall in preparation for use and to eliminate creosote build-up which could ignite and cause a chimney fire.
    • If the standby heating unit will use the normal house oil or gas supply, have it connected with shut-off valves by a certified tradesperson.
    • Before considering the use of an emergency generator during a power outage, check with furnace, appliance and lighting fixture dealers or manufacturers regarding power requirements and proper operating procedures.

    People with disabilities or others requiring assistance

    Consider how you may be affected in a power outage, including:

    • Your evacuation route – without elevator service (if applicable).
    • Planning for a backup power supply for essential medical equipment.
    • Keeping a flashlight and a cell phone handy to signal for help.
    • Establishing a self-help network to assist and check on you during an emergency.
    • Enrolling in a medical alert program that will signal for help if you are immobilized.
    • Keeping a list of facilities that provide life-sustaining equipment or treatment.
    • Keeping a list of medical conditions and treatment.
    • If you live in an apartment, advise the property management that you may need assistance staying in your apartment or that you must be evacuated if there is a power outage. This will allow the property manager to plan and make the necessary arrangements on your behalf.

    During a power outage

    • First, check whether the power outage is limited to your home. If your neighbours’ power is still on, check your own circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If the problem is not a breaker or a fuse, check the service wires leading to the house. If they are obviously damaged or on the ground, stay at least 10 meters back and notify your electric supply authority. Keep the number along with other emergency numbers near your telephone.
    • If your neighbours’ power is also out, notify your electric supply authority.
    • Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment, and turn the thermostat(s) for the home heating system down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored. Also, power can be restored more easily when there is not a heavy load on the electrical system.
    • Turn off all lights, except one inside and one outside, so that both you and hydro crews outside know that power has been restored.
    • Don’t open your freezer or fridge unless it is absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door remains closed.
    • Never use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment, or home generators indoors or in garages. They give off carbon monoxide. Because you can’t smell or see it, carbon monoxide can cause health problems and is life-threatening.
    • Use proper candle holders. Never leave lit candles unattended and keep out of reach of children. Always extinguish candles before going to bed.
    • Listen to your battery-powered or wind-up radio for information on the outage and advice from authorities.


    • Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector. If it is hard-wired to the house’s electrical supply, ensure it has a battery-powered back-up.
    • Protect sensitive electrical appliances such as TVs, computer, and DVD players with a surge-protecting powerbar.

    Use of home generators

    Home generators are handy for backup electricity in case of an outage, but must only be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. A back-up generator may only be connected to your home’s electrical system through an approved transfer panel and switch that has been installed by a qualified electrician. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet as serious injury can result when the current produced by the home generator is fed back into the electrical lines, and transformed to a higher voltage. This can endanger the lives of utility employees working to restore the power.

    To operate a generator safely:

    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Ensure that the generator operates outdoors in well-ventilated conditions, well away from doors or windows, and never in your garage, to prevent exhaust gases from entering the house.
    • Connect lights and appliances directly to the generator. If extension cords must be used, ensure they are properly rated, CSA-approved cords.

    If you have to evacuate

    Evacuation is more likely during winter months, when plummeting temperatures can make a house inhabitable. Although a house can be damaged by low temperatures, the major threat is to the plumbing system. If a standby heating system is used, check to see that no part of the plumbing system can freeze.

    If the house must be evacuated, protect it by taking the following precautions:

    • Turn off the main breaker or switch of the circuit-breaker panel or power-supply box.
    • Turn off the water main where it enters the house. Protect the valve, inlet pipe, and meter or pump with blankets or insulation material.
    • Drain the water from your plumbing system. Starting at the top of the house, open all taps, and flush toilets several times. Go to the basement and open the drain valve. Drain your hot water tank by attaching a hose to the tank drain valve and running it to the basement floor drain.
    • Note: If you drain a gas-fired water tank, the pilot light should be turned out – call the local gas supplier to re-light it.
    • Unhook washing machine hoses and drain.
    • Do not worry about small amounts of water trapped in horizontal pipes. Add a small amount of glycol or antifreeze to water left in the toilet bowl, and the sink and bathtub traps.
    • If your house is protected from groundwater by a sump pump, clear valuables from the basement floor in case of flooding.

    After a power outage

    • Do not enter a flooded basement unless you are sure the power is disconnected.
    • Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse-breaker panels until they have been checked and cleaned by a qualified electrician.
    • Replace the furnace flue (if removed) and turn off the fuel to the standby heating unit.
    • Switch on the main electric switch (before, check to ensure appliances, electric heaters, TVs, microwaves computers, etc. were unplugged to prevent damage from a power surge).
    • Give the electrical system a chance to stabilize before reconnecting tools and appliances. Turn the heating-system thermostats up first, followed in a couple of minutes by reconnection of the fridge and freezer. Wait 10 to 15 minutes before reconnecting all other tools and appliances.
    • Close the drain valve in the basement.
    • Turn on the water supply. Close lowest valves/taps first and allow air to escape from upper taps.
    • Make sure that the hot water heater is filled before turning on the power to it.
    • Check food supplies in refrigerators, freezers and cupboards for signs of spoilage. If a freezer door has been kept closed, food should stay frozen 24 to 36 hours, depending on the temperature. When food begins to defrost (usually after two days), it should be cooked; otherwise it should be thrown out.
    • As a general precaution, keep a bag of ice cubes in the freezer. If you return home after a period of absence and the ice has melted and refrozen, there is a good chance that the food is spoiled. When in doubt, throw it out!
    • Reset your clocks, automatic timers, and alarms.
    • Restock your emergency kit so the supplies will be there when needed again.

    The above information can be found at: www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/hzd/pwrtgs-bfr-en.aspx

  • Thunderstorm

    Hazard Information

    Lightning kills about nine Canadians each year and seriously injures more than 100 people.

    Safety Tips

    • Be aware of weather conditions and warnings
    • Seek shelter immediately if a warning has been issued or you believe one could occur

    If you are indoors:

    • Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors — strong winds and large hailstones can shatter them
    • Avoid running water in your house — lightning can enter through pipes and plumbing
    • Don’t take showers or baths during a thunderstorm
    • Remain indoors during a thunderstorm and stay inside for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder
    • Be prepared to seek shelter in a basement or interior room on the lowest level if conditions worsen

    If you are outdoors:

    • If you hear thunder, then lightning is close enough to be dangerous — take shelter in an enclosed building or metal-topped vehicle
    • Avoid water, high ground, isolated trees, power lines and picnic shelters — small, open structures don’t protect you from lightning
    • If there’s no shelter, go to a low-lying area away from tall, isolated objects — crouch down and put your feet together — do not lie down

    If power outage results:


    Prepare Now

    Take the following steps so you and your family are prepared in the event of an emergency:

    • Have a safe room in your home where everyone gathers during a storm — away from windows, skylights and glass doors
    • If there’s a tornado, gather in a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor
    • Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage
    • Bring inside or tie-down garbage cans and lawn furniture
    • Use surge protectors — a safety electrical plug that will shut off the power if lightning strikes to prevent damage to your computer and other household items


    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/thunderstorm

  • Tornado

    Hazard information

    A tornado (or twister) is a powerful rotating column of wind that can hurt people and damage property. Very large thunderstorms can create many tornadoes. Tornadoes can appear after a heavy rain or hail in a sky that is green, yellow or black.

    You can check local weather and forecasts online.

    Weather warnings

    Safety tips

    • Be aware of weather conditions and warnings
    • Seek shelter immediately if a warning has been issued or you believe one could occur

    If you’re indoors:

    • The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room
    • If you don’t have a basement, go to the centre of an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls – put as many walls as possible between you and the outside
    • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture — use your arms to protect your head and neck
    • Don’t open windows

    If you’re outdoors:

    • don’t wait until you see the tornado to get inside
    • if you can’t get inside, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands
    • don’t go under an overpass or bridge – you’re safer in a low, flat area

    If you’re in a mobile home:

    • Go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately. Mobile homes do not offer much protection from tornadoes.

    If power outage results:

    Prepare now

    • Have a safe room in your home where everyone gathers during a tornado — a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows
    • Conduct a tornado drill to make sure everyone knows where to go if a tornado is coming
    • Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage


    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/tornadoes

  • Winter Storm

    Winter storms kill more Canadians than tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, floods and hurricanes combined.

    Hazard Information

    Heavy snowfall and ice can make the roads treacherous and interrupt the power supply.

    You can check local weather and forecasts online.

    Interactive maps, road conditions and driving information is available through Traveller Information Services.

    Check with your local school board for information on cancelled classes and buses.

    Check with Norfolk County for information on snow removal services and special rules in place during a snow emergency.

    Safety Tips

    • Avoid unnecessary travel
    • Wear layers of lightweight clothing, mittens and a hat (preferably one that covers your ears)
    • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to keep from slipping on ice and snow
    • Regularly check for frostbite — numbness or white areas on your face and body (ears, nose, cheeks, hands and feet in particular)
    • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow by taking frequent breaks
    • Bring pets inside and move livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water

    If power outage results:

    Prepare Now

    Take the following steps so you and your family are prepared in the event of an emergency:

    • Winterize your home to retain heat:
      • insulate walls and attics;
      • caulk or weather-strip doors and windows;
      • install storm windows or cover windows with plastic
    • Get heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected once a year
    • Add extra blankets and warm clothes to your emergency survival kit

    The above information can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/winter-storms