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Emergency Preparedness - Tips for Residents

Posted: January 14, 2019

Emergency Tips for Residents

Are you prepared for an emergency such as power or natural gas outages?  Do you know what to do in case of severe winter storms or other weather related emergencies?
The East St. Paul Emergency Preparedness Team is undertaking an initiative to provide the residents of East St. Paul with emergency preparedness information on a regular basis.  This is the first installment and we hope you find the information educational and applicable.
As a rule of thumb, every residence should be prepared to be self sufficient for at least 72 hours.  You can do this by having an emergency plan and an emergency kit.  Information will be provided later on throughout the year regarding emergency plans and kits.

Power Outages:
  • 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 your neighbours' power is also out, notify Manitoba Hydro through their 24-hour toll free emergency number 1 (888) 624-9376 (1-888-mbhydro).

Power Outages - what to do? 
  • Do not panic.

  • 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.  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 crank 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, computers, and DVD players with a surge-protecting power bar.

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, 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.

Natural gas outages (power still on): 
  • Your home will retain heat for several hours. Don’t panic.

  • Stay inside, dress warmly and in layers.

  • Conserve heat by keeping doors and windows closed. Keep curtains closed unless the sun is shining.

  • Utilize a wood-burning fireplace or portable electric heater and gather everyone around it.

  • An electric range oven will help provide some warmth. Use it cautiously however.

  • Keep lights on and let the water run slowly.

  • Keep your radio tuned to your local station for updates.

  • If the outage will be prolonged, move occupants to homes with heat.

  • Do not use kerosene heaters, camping stoves or barbecues inside your home or garage. This type of equipment needs to be operated outdoors to allow for proper ventilation. 

We hope you find this information useful.  If you have any questions, please contact the administration office during regular business hours at (204) 668-8112 or  by email at administration@eaststpaul.com.


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