• December 26, 2013 2:22 PM
  • - General

City of Toronto ice storm update

TORONTO, Dec. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - The City of Toronto is continuing to provide updated information on ongoing impacts and the City's response to the ice storm. Toronto's Emergency Operations Centre continues to support the ongoing response efforts.

Hydro Update
Toronto Hydro is reporting that approximately 54,000 customers are now without power. Hydro crews are continuing to work around the clock to respond. Additional personnel have now come in from Sault Ste Marie, Windsor, Ottawa and Manitoba to assist with the restoration efforts.

The City's Emergency Operations Centre has been working closely with Toronto Police Services, Toronto Hydro, the TTC and TCHC through door-to-door canvassing to identify vulnerable residents who require assistance affected by power outages.

There are currently 43 City Forestry crews out today and working closely with Toronto Hydro.  The Forestry crews work to clear downed trees and fallen branches and facilitate access for hydro crews to work on power restoration. Additional forestry crews from across the province are expected to respond and assist Toronto's forestry staff with debris removal beginning tomorrow.

Toronto Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Call volumes continue to be higher than normal for Toronto EMS, and particularly for Toronto Fire Services.

Residents are urged not to operate propane, natural gas or charcoal barbecues inside as they can create a dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning hazard if not property vented. Also, do not use a stove or camping gear for heating your home, as they can similarly create a carbon monoxide poisoning and burn hazard. Ensure battery backup is operating for carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.    Exercise extreme caution when using candles.

Community Care Access Centre Clients
Community Care Access Centre clients who use home oxygen and have concerns can call 310-2222 (no area code required) for assistance. All others are asked to contact their oxygen supplier for assistance.

Trees, Debris and Removal
Residents are urged to exercise extreme caution and avoid walking under trees that are covered in ice, particularly in parks, wooded valleys, and near playgrounds.

City staff from Transportation, Forestry and Solid Waste Management are working together to address tree debris.  Clearing of debris is well underway on major roadways, with a priority on public safety. Crews are currently pushing tree debris to the side of the roads to make them safe and passable, and will focus on residential streets in the coming days. Work to clear tree debris is expected to continue for approximately six weeks, weather permitting.

Tree branches that have fallen on private property and are of a manageable size that can be dragged to the City's right-of-way (i.e., to the curb) will be picked up.

Large limb or stem (body) wood from private trees that have fallen on private property should not be taken to the curb. Property owners should contact a private contractor to take away this material.

City crews cannot go onto private property to clear private trees that have fallen on private property.

For residents that live in the Asian long-horned beetle quarantine area in Etobicoke, the City crews and private contractors will dispose of this debris in the prescribed manner. Do not take this wood out of the Federal quarantine area.  See more information at www.toronto.ca/trees

Toronto Roads and Traffic
The number of signalized intersections without power continues to decrease. An estimated 150 traffic signals remain without power. Transportation Services expects that number will decrease further today. The City is working closely with Toronto Police to provide point-duty at intersections that require it.  Motorists are reminded to treat any intersection without functioning signal lights as an all-way stop.

Salting operations continue today on main roads, and collector roads, local roads and sidewalks, with TTC stops a priority.

Parking consideration will be provided for residents who park on the street beyond posted times due to limited access to icy driveways.

Food, Water, Warmth and Rest
The City continues to operate locations across the city where vulnerable residents and those who need assistance can access food, water, warmth and rest. Pets are welcome. Approximately 850 people were accommodated last night.

Toronto Community Centre locations are as follows:
Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Dr. (Eglinton/Don Mills)
Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd. (Neilson/Finch)
Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane St. (between Finch and Steeles)
Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Ave. (Yonge/Finch)
Joseph P Piccininni Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Ave. W. (St Clair/Keele)
Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard St. E. (Pape/Gerrard)
Lawrence Heights Middle School, 50 Highland Hill (between Ranee and Dane)
Edithvale Community Centre, 131 Finch Ave. W. (between Bathurst and Yonge)
Pleasantview Community Centre, 545 Van Horne Ave. (between Edmonton and Brian)
East York Collegiate Institute, 650 Cosburn Ave. (Coswell/Coxwell)
McGregor Park Community Centre, 2231 Lawrence Ave. E. (Lawrence/Kennedy)

In addition, 13 Toronto Police Service facilities have been identified as having community rooms available for use 24/7 as warming centres:

Division 11 - 2054 Davenport Road (Davenport/Osler)
Division 12 - 200 Trethewey Drive (Trethewey/Black Creek)
Division 14 - 350 Dovercourt Road (College/Dovercourt)
Division 22 - 3699 Bloor Street West (Bloor West/Dundas West)
Division 23 - 5230 Finch Avenue West (Kipling/Finch)
Division 31 - 40 Norfinch Road (Norfinch/Finch West)
Division 33 - 50 Upjohn Road (York Mills/Don Mills)
Division 42 - 242 Milner Avenue (Milner/Markham)
Division 43 - 4331 Lawrence Ave. E (Lawrence Ave. E/ Kingston Road)
Division 51 - 51 Parliament Street (Front/Parliament)
Division 52 - 255 Dundas Street West (LOBBY ONLY)
Toronto Police Service College - 70 Birmingham Street (Birmingham/Fifth)
Toronto Police Service Headquarters - 40 College Street (College/Bay)

Donations of healthy, non-allergenic, non-perishable foods such as snack foods and beverages are being accepted at warming centres. Due to food safety guidelines, the public is asked not to bring home-made food to the warming/reception centres.

Holiday Waste Pickup
Residents are reminded that this week and next week, curbside collection on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will move forward one day. This means that Wednesday collection moves to Thursday, Thursday collection moves to Friday, and Friday collection moves to Saturday. Changes are reflected in the residential collection calendar.  Due to downed trees and hydro wires, collection vehicles are not able to reach some areas. There may also be delays.  Residents should leave their materials out until they are collected.   If required, additional collection crews will work on Monday (not a regularly scheduled collection day).

Food Waste
If you have organic material (food waste) that cannot fit in the Green Bin, please set it out in a clear plastic bag. Food waste will be collected on your regularly scheduled collection day.

Food Safety
For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit http://www.toronto.ca/health/food_safety  and click on the power outages link on the bottom of the page.

Preventing Frozen Pipes
If you don't have heat for your home and the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water so there is some movement of water in pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing.

If you are leaving your home because of no heat, you can shut off the main service valve in your basement and open your lowest tap to drain the water out of your plumbing lines to prevent them from freezing.

TTC
Please check www.ttc.ca for schedule details and service alerts.

GO Transit
Please check www.gotransit.com for schedule details and service updates.

Outdoor Skating Rinks
For current information and status updates, please see www.toronto.ca/skate.

Toronto Public Libraries
All branches are closed today. Service updates are available at www.torontopubliclibrary.ca.

Thank You
The City of Toronto would like to extend a sincere thank you to the many partners who have helped in the aftermath of this storm. This includes the Province of Ontario and other municipalities that have sent hydro crews. The City would also like to thank residents who have assisted our crews by moving tree branches off of the roads and onto boulevards.

Emergency Preparedness
Information and advice about emergency preparedness are available at http://www.toronto.ca/oem.

Social Media Updates
For updates during an emergency event and other City of Toronto information, follow @TorontoComms on Twitter. The City will be using #citystorm when providing updates on the storm.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

SOURCE City of Toronto

For further information:

Media contact: 
Wynna Brown, Strategic Communications, 416-919-6503, wbrown1@toronto.ca
Deborah Brown, Strategic Communications, 416-919-6501, dbrown3@toronto.ca