Power Outage Safety
While the electricity is off, take care when using alternative lighting, cooking and heating equipment. Fire and life safety systems may become inoperative. You should know what to do. Please review the following information and take precautions to make sure everyone stays safe
Use flashlights or chemical light sticks instead of candles or lanterns to reduce fire risks.
Review the buildings' approved "Fire Safety Plan". Occupants must know the fire and life safety practices they must follow. The local Chief Fire Official must be contacted where applicable, to determine approved alternative measures. These measures are to be implemented for the life safety of building occupants when fire and life safety systems are inoperative or impaired.
Place in secure candleholders protected by a glass chimney. Keep candles away from all combustible materials, such as draperies, papers, etc. Place them out of reach of children and pets. Avoid walking with a lit candle or taking it into a closet or similar area to look for things. Extinguish candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Never leave them unattended.
Make sure that all stove elements and ovens are OFF and that nothing has been placed on top of the stove.
Have at least one telephone (not cordless) that works during a power failure.
Fire and Life Safety Systems
Without electricity, fire and life safety systems may not operate as originally designed. The fire alarm system, voice communication system, emergency lighting, fire sprinkler system, standpipe and hose system, and other fire and life safety features rely on electricity to operate appropriately. Some fire and life safety systems are equipped with a secondary source of power consisting of batteries. When the power is depleted in these batteries, the system or equipment will no longer work.
The Ontario Fire Code, O. Reg. 388/97 as amended, stipulates that such systems must be maintained in operating condition at all times. Should the power not be promptly restored or where an alternative electrical power supply is not provided, occupant safety and property are at risk from fire.
Think carefully before you bring a fuel-burning appliance into the building. Any device that burns fuel requires oxygen to burn properly and ventilation to remove the deadly products of combustion. Carbon monoxide is produced by any device fuelled by natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, charcoal, gasoline or wood. It is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that can be deadly.
Lanterns and Oil Lamps
Place lamps and lanterns in a secure place where they cannot be knocked over by children or pets. Keep them away from combustibles and windy areas. Refill lamps and lanterns outdoors, away from combustibles and other people. Before leaving the room, make sure that all lamps are out.
Matches and Lighters
Keep all matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children, preferably locked away.
Portable generators should be used outdoors only. They should be carefully placed outside to ensure that fumes do dot enter the building. Generators and hot gases should be kept away from combustibles. Store fuel for the generator outside in an approved container a safe distance away from the building and generator. Refuel only after shutting it down and letting it cool. Follow manufacturer's recommendations regarding use. Hire a licensed electrical contractor or electrician to install the unit. Have the installation inspected by the Electrical Safety Authority.
More information on portable generators can be found in the Outdoor Fire Safety Section.
Portable Space Heaters
Use only portable space heaters that have been designed for indoor use. Before using one, review the manufacturer's recommendations for usage and follow the instructions carefully. Only use the fuel for which the appliance was designed. Provide adequate ventilation by opening a window slightly, when the heater is in use. Before refuelling, turn off the heater, wait for it to cool and take the heater outside to refill. Keep all heaters at least 1 m (3 feet) away from combustible materials including drapes, carpeting and furniture. Turn portable space heaters off when you are not in the room and before going to bed. If you are using a wood stove, always empty ashes into a covered metal container and store them outside, away from combustibles. If you have not used the fireplace or woodstove for a long time, have it checked by a professional technician before using it. The chimney may be blocked or damaged, which could cause a fire or a build-up of carbon monoxide inside the building.
Propane and charcoal barbecues should be used outside only. Do not bring them inside the building.