Heritage Insurance

Greg discusses what to do when the power is out in this episode of Ask The Expert. 800 CHAB radio presents Ask the Expert with Greg Marcyniuk of Heritage Insurance located in Moose Jaw.

Here's a full transcript of the episode.

Rob Carnie: Preparing for a power outage.

I think we all got a lesson in December, when the power went out across Saskatchewan. With that heavy frost knocking down power lines across the province, especially in East Central and Southeast Saskatchewan — including Moose Jaw and the South Country.

Greg Marcyniuk at Heritage Insurance, you have all the tips, you know how to prepare for a power outage, sir.

Greg Marcyniuk: That's right, Rob. You've got to develop a preparedness plan and make sure you share that with your family. Prepare an emergency kit and store it in an easy-to-find location. And check it regularly to make sure the kit is well-stocked and all the equipment is working in good order.

So, what should you have in an emergency kit, Rob? You should prepare for the first 72 hours.

First of all, you should have a flashlight, along with extra batteries, a very good first aid kit. You should have bottled water. And you want 2 liters per person per day, so basically 6 liters for a 72-hour period. And if you have anyone with any special needs, elderly with prescription, anything like that, you want, again, three days' worth for supplies for people with special needs.

Have a copy of your preparedness plan, and you should have a battery or a crank-operated clock and radio. They've actually got some great ones online I was looking at, where you could crank and actually, not only listen to the radio, it has a light, and it will also charge your mobile phone. You should have nonperishable, ready-to-eat foods, warm clothing and blankets.

Also, keep your vehicles filled up on the top end of the side. Because, again, when the power was out, I don't how many people I talked to that really couldn't leave anywhere because their tanks were not full. And it's a good idea, it's better on your vehicle too, if you keep your tank full throughout the winter.

There's a lot of good reasons, and I won't get into that.

Rob: And the gas stations needed power. The power was out in all the gas stations, you couldn't fill up your vehicle.

Greg: That's correct. So, again, just a great idea. The other thing — just real quick on portable generators, like a lot of people were getting their generators out. So, first and foremost, you've got to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. So, you never use a portable generator outdoor or a charcoal barbecue indoors. That's just a no-no. Only operate that portable generator outdoors and make sure that it's located away from any windows or doors or anywhere where the exhaust can get in.

If you do start to fill dizzy, nausea, or headache, turn off the generator and get the heck out of there real quick and get fresh air. And it's a good idea to use a battery-operated CO detector or carbon monoxide detector in your home. Because if it is a wired CO, it's not going to work.

So make sure you have a battery one there. And the other thing is, when it comes to power generators, make sure that you never plug a power generator into a regular household outlet. You want to make sure that you plug appliances directly into the generator or else have an actual CSA-approved three-pronged extension cord.

So, when it comes to heaters, your refrigerator, or your freezer, you want to make sure that you have a proper extension cord. And make sure you use a ground fault circuit interrupter, as far as using any of the portable generator power electrical tools for outdoor use. And the other thing is keep that generator protected from rain or snow.

So, those are the things that you want to make sure that you're well aware of in the event of a power outage.

Rob: And just like the emergency kits we're told to keep in our vehicles during Saskatchewan winters, important to have some candles around too. Candles can generate a lot of heat in the home. I mean, as long as you, you know, don't leave the room, candles could save your life.

Greg: They can. Again, you've got to use caution because they are fire hazards. So, definitely a great idea.

Rob: These tips are available online.

Greg: Yes, www.nohassleinsurance.ca or come on down to the corner of First and Fairford North.

(Video transcription by Speechpad)

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