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Utilities Kingston offers storm related safety tips

With a severe winter storm expected to bring rain and/or snow, freezing rain and ice pellets into the area from tomorrow into Thursday, Utilities Kingston offers these safety tips to help protect your property and ensure public safety.  Customers concerned about the safety of a utility serviced by Utilities Kingston can call the 24-hour line at 613-546-1181.

Know what to do in the event of a winter storm

Severe weather can cause power outages and downed power lines, as well as put your basement at risk of flooding.  Visit the Utilities Kingston website and learn how to be prepared.

In case of power outages

Utilities Kingston is available 24 hours a day to respond to power outages in Kingston Hydro's central Kingston electricity distribution area. Phone 24/7 at 613-546-1181. If you require electricity service in the west or east areas of the City, contact Hydro One at 1-800-434-1235.

If you see a downed power line or tree branch that has fallen on a power line, always assume it's energized and dangerous. Stay away and report it immediately by calling 613-546-1181.

Portable standby generators, when used properly, can provide an alternative power source until conventional power is restored. However, they can create electrical shock and fire hazards if connected or used incorrectly. Never operate a generator inside your home or garage. Generators produce carbon monoxide, and if used indoors will cause a build-up of fatal fumes – fans or open windows and doors won't provide enough fresh air to keep you and your family safe.  Get more information on safely using this equipment at www.utilitieskingston.com

Protect your property from basement flooding

During periods of heavy rain and rapid snow melt, any home is at risk of flooding, even if it's never happened before:

  • Check your sump pump for proper operation and follow the manufacturer's maintenance recommendations. For example, you may wish to:

- Confirm it's plugged in and working properly.

- Check for any frozen lines that need to be thawed.

- Consider an extra length of hose to increase the distance at which it discharges away from your foundation.

- If your sump pump drains to the surface, check it.  The discharge point may be buried under snow and ice. Uncover it and clear a path so the water drains away from your foundation. Otherwise, water may recycle back into your basement.

  • Clear snow away from your foundation, providing a path for water to follow the natural grade around your house.
  • Check your back water valve and maintain it according to the manufacturer's directions. For example, if you can do so safely, you may wish to open the lid, clean it out, confirm there is a good seal in place and test its operation.
  • Ensure your downspouts are clear of snow and ice so water can route safely away. Shovel a path for the water to run well away from the foundation, or consider an extra length of pipe. (Stay safe: keep on the look-out for icicles that have formed and may fall from your eaves.) • If you know that a catch basin on your street is covered in snow and ice, we'd appreciate if you could take some time to clear it. This will help make sure that snow melt and rainwater can enter the storm sewer and promotes good drainage away from your neighbourhood. (Tip: use Google Maps' street view to locate catch basins.) • Get 18 flood facts and tips to protect your property at: http://utilitieskingston.com/Wastewater/basementflooding/floodfacts.aspx
  • Know what to do if your basement has flooded (see http://utilitieskingston.com/Wastewater/BasementFlooding/flooded.aspx).

First and foremost, consider your family's health and safety. Entering a wet basement could be hazardous! When in doubt, don't enter the flooded area until you are told it is safe by a professional qualified to do so.

Keep snow and ice away from utlilities equipment

  • Keep gas and electrical meters clear: Although your outdoor gas meter is designed to withstand winter weather, heavy or hard-packed snow and ice can be a safety hazard. Keep snow and ice from building up on and covering both your gas and electric meters – and avoid piling snow under the meters or electrical wires.  Take care while using a snow plow or other machinery near your gas meter.
  • Keep outside exhaust vents (such as for gas-fired furnaces and water heaters) cleared of snow or ice.
  • Keep hydrants visible: Residents and snow removal companies are reminded not to shovel or blow snow onto hydrants. We thank citizens who take the time to clear snow and ice from fire hydrants, providing access to fire fighters in case of emergency.
  • Prevent water from freezing around electrical lines:  Never attempt to clear ice from around electrical lines yourself (Utilities Kingston customers: call 613-546-1181 if you are concerned).  Keep your eaves troughs free of debris so water runs safely away before it freezes. Ice can build up where overhead electrical service wires attach to your home a dangerous and costly situation. Consider that the root of the problem may be poor attic insulation.

For more information on keeping your home and family safe, visit www.utilitieskingston.com

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Media contact: For more information contact 613-546-4291, ext. 2300.

About Utilities Kingston: Utilities Kingston operates multiple utilities through a single service structure, allowing it to deliver cost savings and customer service excellence. The company is unique in Ontario, combining water, wastewater, gas and electrical services, and broadband fibre optics in one company. Trusted by customers to deliver reliable utilities for more than 150 years, employees are proud to provide personal, responsive services.

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