Power outage: What to include in an emergency preparedness kit

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Power Outage: What to include in an emergency preparedness kit
After a deadly derecho storm swept through parts of Ontario and Quebec on the long weekend, many were left without power and without a plan. Caley Bedore has more on this edition of Out & About on how to create an emergency preparedness kit. – May 26, 2022

After a deadly storm swept through the province on May 21, Hydro One said more than 600,000 people were without power in southern, central and eastern Ontario.

No power, no cell service and, in some cases, no idea what to do next. David Fraser, an emergency management volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross, said now is the time to prepare for future emergencies.

“This is a perfect time to think about being prepared, particularly if you weren’t prepared for this storm,” said Fraser. “It is always a good indicator that maybe I could be doing a few other things that could help me in the future.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but it is likely we could have more situations like this in the future.”

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Fraser said the first thing to do is recognize that emergencies — and, in this case, severe weather events — can happen to anyone. Next, he said to create a plan and gather items that will get you through at least 72 hours in the event of a power outage.

“There are three main areas that you should have covered, particularly if the power goes out. The first thing you need to have is food and water.”

He said to have non-perishable food items, a can opener and bottled water. He also said if you think you might lose power, and have access, fill a bathtub or bucket with water just in case.

“That’s number one. Number two is a means for communicating, so a transistor radio, a crank radio, to make sure that you can keep in touch with first responders, or Global News, for example, to stay aware of what’s going on and what you should be doing in the future,” said Fraser.

Third, Fraser said you need a means of managing yourself in the dark.

“Lots of flashlights and extra batteries,” he said. “We do discourage the use of candles (for fire hazard reasons) but if you do need to use them, make sure you don’t leave them unattended.”

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Jon Moreno, chief camping organizer at Wild Rock Outfitters in Peterborough, Ont., said they have a number of products typically meant for camping that can be used if you lose power.

“We’ve got a solar panel from BioLite, which can hold a charge, but also uses the sun to charge,” he said. “Then we have some battery packs that will hold a charge for you; you will need some power, whether it’s from a solar panel or a friend with power to charge this and then take it home.”

He said coolers, camp stoves and solar lights have also been popular in the wake of Saturday’s storm.

“The string lights are super popular. You have 18 feet of LED lights that you can string up in the house or outside and this is solar-powered and as a backup, you can also use it for your phone,” said Moreno.

For more information and a detailed list of what to include in an emergency preparedness kit, you can visit the Canadian Red Cross Website.

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