Anne Marie Thomas
Ways to be prepared for power-robbing stormsJune 9, 2022
It seems inevitable these days that some weather event – a tornado, an ice storm, or the recent crazy windstorm in Ontario – will knock out your power. It’s an irritating thing that turns into deeper trouble if the power doesn’t come on in a few hours. Save with SPP took a look around to see what we can all do to be ready for the inevitable next outage.
A Global News report notes that 600,000 Ontarians lost power in a May storm, many for days and even weeks. A long-term outage, the article notes, means no internet, no phone charging, food spoilage, no AC or heat, and nowhere to get gas.
The aftermath of a big outage “is a perfect time to think about being prepared, particularly if you weren’t prepared for this storm,” states David Fraser of the Canadian Red Cross in the Global article. “Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but it is likely we could have more situations like this in the future.”
Fraser sees three key areas where preparedness pays off. You need a three or four-day supply of non-perishable canned food, and a manual can opener. Fill your bathtub to provide drinking water when the storm is hitting (and you still can), he recommends. Stay in touch with the outside world via a battery or hand-cranked radio. If you have a traditional landline, it may still work with a non-cordless phone. The third must-have is power – lots and lots of batteries in an easy-to-find location, and charged flashlights.
Generators, powered by gasoline, propane, or the kind that charge themselves from your house’s electricity and come on when power goes out, are also a great idea.
According to a CBC report, Ottawa-area resident Nabila Awad used a gasoline-powered generator to keep some power going into her home in the days following the storm. However, she notes, it cost about $40 in gas each day to keep the thing running, and with no water in the house, they still had to order in food.
Insurance companies will generally help pay the cost of running a generator when the power is out, and the cost of replacing spoiled food, Anne Marie Thomas of the Insurance Bureau of Canada tells the CBC. How much coverage you have depends on the policy, so it’s not a bad idea to check with your broker before you have a problem.
Owning or renting a small chainsaw and a sump pump can help you clear your property of downed trees and address flooding, Thomas adds. Call for help if you have downed power lines; don’t go near them.
Let’s recap. To prepare for a storm or outage, you need canned food, a manual can opener or Swiss army knife, a supply of water, some sort of radio, and maybe a landline phone. A small chainsaw and a sump pump might be handy. What else?
The Gizmodo site lists some other interesting options, including a counter-top generator that can power a small fridge for quite a few hours, rechargeable flashlights that you plug in to an outlet (easy to find), a solar-powered phone charger, and more. Genius.
In a way, emergency preparedness is a lot like saving for retirement. Taking the time to put together a little emergency kit before the power stops working is indeed akin to putting away a little of your “today” money for a tomorrow when you stop working.
If you don’t have a workplace pension and aren’t really sure about investing, an end-to-end, do-it-yourself retirement plan is within the reach of any Canadian with RRSP room – the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. With SPP’s help, your “today” money can be grown into future retirement income. Check out this made-in-Saskatchewan marvel today!
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Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.