Ice Storm Recovery: Safety Tips for Residents

Ice Storm Recovery: Safety Tips for Residents

December 23, 2013

General Safety Tips

  • Check for damaged or fallen services wires leading to your residence. If you spot them, STAY BACK at least 10 metres to minimize the risk of electrocution.

  • If you are in a car and notice fallen power lines, stay inside your car and call 911.

  • If your power is out, please do not call Toronto Hydro. Instead, call the Client Care Centre at 416-981-5500, or email

  • Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment.

  • Turn thermostats down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored.

  • Turn off all lights, except one inside and one outside.

Fire Safety Tips

  • Do not use barbecues or camping heating equipment indoors, as they pose a carbon monoxide threat.

  • If using candles, please follow these fire safety tips:

    • Always stay in the room where candles are lit.

    • Put out all candles when leaving the room, especially when going to sleep.

    • Do not use candles in bedrooms.

    • Keep candles at least one metre away from anything that can burn.

    • Keep candles, matches and lighters hidden and out of the reach of children and pets.

    • Use sturdy candle holders that won't tip or burn. Those with glass shades or chimneys are safer.

    • Put candles out when they reach two inches.

  • Make sure that your stove is clear and is turned off or unplugged to avoid a fire when the power comes back on.

  • Do not operate generators inside home, garage, or near windows or vents where exhaust could migrate indoors.

  • Do not fuel inside and wait for generator to cool.

Food Safety Tips

  • Don't open your freezer or fridge unless absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if doors stay closed.

  • The City of Toronto has posted a list of food safety tips. Read them here.

  • Remember, if in doubt, throw it out.

If you live in a house and must leave:

  • Turn off the main breaker.

  • Turn off the water main where it enters the house.

  • Drain water from the plumbing system, starting at top of the house. Open all taps, and flush toilets several times. Open the drain valve, usually in the basement, and drain the hot-water tank.

  • If you have a sump pump, clear valuables from basement floor in case of flooding.

  • Leave natural gas service on unless officials tell you to turn it off.

  • Lock your home.

  • Do not enter a flooded basement unless you are sure the power is disconnected.

  • Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse-breaker panels until they have been checked by an electrician.

  • Replace the furnace flue if removed, and turn off the fuel to the standby heating unit.

  • Ensure that appliances and electronics are unplugged.

  • When power is restored, turn the heating-system thermostats up first, wait a few minutes, reconnect fridge and freezer. Wait 10-15 minutes before reconnecting all other appliances.

  • Close drain valve in basement; turn on water supply.

Other tips for staying safe:

  • Avoid driving, and wait several hours after freezing rain ends so maintenance crews have time to spread sand and salt on roads.

  • If it is safe to do so, clear your surrounding property of the ice and snow, and sand or salt the ground.

  • Check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours.

  • Listen to the radio, watch television or consult online for information and instructions from local officials.


Remember, if you have questions or need help, please contact the Client Care Centre by phone at 416-981-5500 or by email at