What to do when stormy weather hits

Downed powerlines

Flooded property

Plan ahead

Winter storm safety 

Downed Powerlines downedpowerline

Stay well back – at least 11 metres or 35 feet. Call 911 and your local electric utility. Do not approach the powerlines

If a powerline falls on your vehicle, call 911 and stay inside until help arrives. If it’s not safe to stay inside the vehicle, jump clear of your vehicle and land with your feet together. Hop with both feet together until you’re at least 11 metres or 35 feet away.

After a storm, remember that downed powerlines may be hidden by fallen trees or branches – look carefully before starting your clean-up.

Flood-damaged property flooddamagedproperty

Do not go into a flooded basement until your local electrical utility has shut off the power to your house. Electricity can travel through water or wet carpets and could lead to a severe shock.

Follow these important safety tips  when using portable generators.

Remove standing water as soon as possible using a wet/dry shop vac or pump plugged into an outlet or power bar protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). Make sure fans and dehumidifiers are also plugged into GFCI-protected outlets.

If flood water has risen above your outlets or electrical panel, hire a licensed electrical contractor to determine whether your electrical system needs to be replaced.

Do not plug in flood damaged electrical equipment or electronics before they’ve been evaluated and refurbished by a qualified technician.

Learn more about how to deal with flood damaged property: 

Guidelines on what to do in the event of flooding or water damage

Storm-proofing your home generators

High winds, heavy snow and ice can bring trees and branches down onto powerlines. Inspect the trees in your yard. Call your local hydro company or a trained arborist to trim trees near overhead powerlines before the winter storm season.

Do your research before buying portable heaters and electrical blankets and ensure they bear a recognized certification mark.


Follow these important safety tips when using portable generators.

Permanently installed back-up generators must be connected according to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. ESA recommends hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor to do the installation. Learn more about standby generator safety.  

Prepare an emergency survival kit for extended power outages.

Print ESA’s Winter Storm Safety Tip Sheet:

Winter Storm Safety Tips