Winter Power Outage Preparedness Tips

Winter Power Outage Preparedness Tips

White, bright, and snowy, Quebec winters can be wonderful; nevertheless, this season comes with its share of hassles. The cold weather issues that typically occur in our beautiful corner of the world can be a source of anxiety. Proper planning is key for peace of mind!

Especially regarding power grid failures! What can you do to avoid being caught off guard? 

Plan Beforehand to Reduce Negative Consequences

Well in advance of a snow or ice storm forecast, start collecting provisions for a home emergency kit. The chosen items must allow you to be self-sufficient for three days without external assistance. The kit should contain the following materials, and be stored in an easily accessible location, such as a large plastic bin in the basement:

  • Two litres of water per day per person
  • Non-perishable foods that don’t require cooking, like canned meals, crackers, granola bars, cereal, and nuts
  • A manual can opener
  • Candles with matches or a lighter
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • A solar powered cellphone charger
  • Antifreeze liquid for the water lines
  • Blankets
  • A first aid kit

Make sure you have each family member’s essential items, such as medicine, diapers, and baby formula. 

Think About Food

During an extended blackout, you can prepare your meals outside on the BBQ. A fondue is a likewise pleasant way of enjoying a warming meal. Make sure you follow the safety recommendations and never fill the burner cup while it is still hot.

Don’t open the fridge or freeze door too often so that they stay cold as long as possible. Some foods can be stored outside, in a cooler, but make sure it is properly secured so as not to attract animals!

If the outage lasts more than six hours, start throwing out the fridge’s perishable items. Food stored in a full freezer will safely keep for 48 hours or 24 hours if it’s half full.

Prevent Further Damage

Pipes that have been subject to freezing temperatures can cause quite a mess when they burst. To prevent this from happening, shut off the main water valve, drain all the taps and pour nontoxic antifreeze liquid into all the water lines, including the toilets.

Remember, Safety First

Don’t heat your house by turning on the natural gas stove, or by using any other supplemental heating source that is not certified for such use. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors’ batteries so you can sleep worry free.

Instead, rely on a generator to run a room heater or stay with friends if the nights are too chilly.

If You Have Young Children

So that young children don’t become anxious, try to keep them busy with fun activities:

  • Have a picnic in the living room with flashlights to brighten supper time.
  • Take a candlelight bath if you have hot water.
  • Play Lite-Brite, a light box drawing game.
  • If the roads are safe, you could also go for a drive around the neighbourhood. Use this opportunity to charge your cellphone and stargaze in the evening.
  • Kids prefer to be reassured with real-life stories. Do you have anecdotes from blackouts you experienced as a child you could share with them?


Taking the time to ensure that all is ready in the event of a power failure in winter should become as ingrained a habit as changing the car’s tires in preparation for icy roads! 

RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

A leader in the real estate industry since 1982, the RE/MAX network brings together the most efficient brokers.