Canadian Red Cross
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.
May 16: Best from the blogosphereMay 16, 2016
By Sheryl Smolkin
For the last week, the images I cannot get out of my mind are the pictures and videos of Fort McMurray burning. Every week on savewithspp.com we post blogs that discuss retirement savings and how readers can fund their life after work. But the major asset most of us are depending on to augment government benefits is the equity in our family homes. Imagine having that wiped out in minutes as you flee to safety.
The only good news has been the incredible bravery and grace of everyone involved from first responders to neighbors to governments at all levels. Also, as the Globe and Mail reports, insurance companies across Canada have already begun deploying mobile response units and flying in personnel to the province from across the country to prepare to assess the damage and issue emergency cheques.
Money will never replace photos albums or family heirlooms, but it will go a long way to help people rebuild their lives. That’s why this week we are going to feature a few things you need to know about insuring your home and your possessions against loss or theft.
In a Toronto Star article, Home insurance: 10 things you need to know, Andrew Wicken says the cost to rebuild your home plays a big role in determining the amount you pay for home insurance. Check with your broker or agent to see if you have guaranteed replacement coverage. This ensures you will receive the amount that it actually costs to replace your home and not the amount on your policy. Not all policies have this coverage and rules vary across insurance companies.
What Every Canadian Should Know About Home Insurance Policies posted on InsuranceHotline.com points out the importance of “loss of use” coverage. If your home is uninhabitable after a claim, then loss of use insurance will help your family manage while your home is being rebuilt or repaired. Hotel expenses, meals, and incidental expenses are covered by this portion of your home insurance policy, typically for a specified period of time or to a maximum dollar amount.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada reminds homeowners that it’s your responsibility to report any changes to your property. Contact your insurance professional before you:
- Renovate your home
- Install a pool or spa
- Set up a home-based business, such as a daycare
- Lease all or a portion of your property
- Purchase jewellery or art.
Keeping your insurance company informed with an accurate and up-to-date description of your home and contents can help speed up the claims settlement process after a loss.
The U.S.- based Hanover Fire & Casualty Insurance Company outlines some ways to save money on your home insurance. For instance things that might earn you a discount include:
- A home burglary alarm system
- Dead bolt locks
- Fire alarms and sprinklers
- Updated heating systems
- Updated wiring and electrical systems
- A home near a fire hydrant or fire department
- A home located near a police department
- Well-structured and maintained stairs, sidewalks, driveways, and entrances
And finally, MoneySense author Gabrielle Bauer describes Home insurance as defending your castle. When buying home insurance, she says you’re almost always better off using an independent broker who deals with a number of insurance companies, so he/she can get you the best price possible. Also, to keep your premiums more affordable, she suggests bundling your home and auto insurance policies together because it could cut 15% off your total bill.
The Canadian Red Cross is accepting donations for the Alberta Fires Emergency Appeal. Ten banks in Canada are also accepting cash donations. All individual donations will be matched by the Government of Canada.