In Light of the Recent Storm...Be Prepared!
This past week, Halton Region and the rest of the GTA were hit with quite a large ice storm that left thousands of trees damaged and hundreds of thousands of homes without power. The cleanup has been laborious and intense with local governments, utility companies, emergency services and regional officials coordinating the huge task of helping citizens get power back on, clean up debris and get their lives back to normal in time for Christmas.
According to the Oakville.ca website, “The Town of Oakville continues to deal with the significant number of downed trees and tree limbs throughout the town. Forestry crews are working as quickly as possible to remove fallen trees blocking driveways and on roads and sidewalks and inspect trees overhanging power lines for damaged limbs. Due to the risk of falling tree limbs, residents are advised that town trails and woodlots will be closed until further notice. Park cleanup is scheduled to begin in January after priority calls are completed. It is expected that the cleanup of all damaged trees may take several weeks to complete.”
Severe winter storms can cause widespread damage and disruption. Heavy snow can result in transportation delays and traffic accidents due to slippery roads and stranded vehicles. Ice storms can down power lines and poles, cause power outages leaving you without heating, lighting, water, or phone services, and make travel virtually impossible.
Here are a few important tips to remember as winter weather can often be very unpredictable:
- Have an Emergency Go-Kit and a Shelter-in-Place/Stay at Home Kit in your home. Put together an Emergency Car Survival Kit and maintain your vehicle gas tank above half full.
- When a winter storm watch is in effect, listen to the radio or television for information or instructions. Stay connected to your town website (eg.Oakville.ca) as well as Social Media alerts on Facebook and Twitter.
- When a winter storm hits, stay indoors as much as possible. If you must go outside, dress for the weather. If you must travel during a snowstorm, do so during the day and let someone know your route and arrival time.
- Icy roads can challenge even the most experienced drivers. If you must travel during a winter storm, do so during the day and let someone know your route and expected arrival time. Where possible, stay on cleared routes.
- Steer clear of downed power lines. They could still be live and deadly even if they show no active danger signs. Make sure you call the hydro company immediately if power lines around your property are damaged.
- Carbon monoxide goes undetected and is deadly. Do not heat your homes with devices that are designed for outdoor use, particularly barbecues and outdoor generators. If you are using an outdoor generator, ensure that the exhaust fumes do not enter your home.
- Electrically connected smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms do not work when the power is out unless they have battery back-up, so make sure your home has battery-operated smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
- Make sure that you don’t leave candles unattended. If possible, use flashlights instead of candles and make sure that you know where your flashlights are and that they are all stocked with fresh batteries.
- Unplug all unnecessary appliances to protect them from potential power surges as hydro crews work to restore electricity and leave only select lights on to alert you when you're power comes back on.
- Conserve your cellphone battery by turning down the screen brightness and turning off functions such as Bluetooth, WiFi and location services, in case you need a phone in an emergency.
Halton Region has announced it will be providing enhanced services to residents until Jan. 31, 2014 to help them clean up the tree debris from the ice storm. Oakville residents in collection services 1-8 may place bulk brush out on their regular garbage collection day.
For more information about broken trees branches and brush pickup visit www.halton.ca.
For information about storm damage, visit www.oakvillehydro.com.