• December 29, 2013 1:36 PM
  • - General

City of Toronto Ice Storm Update

TORONTO, Dec. 29, 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 6,000 customers are now without power.

Hydro crews are continuing to work around the clock to restore service. Hydro One crews and personnel from Hamilton, Sault Ste Marie, Windsor, Ottawa and Manitoba are assisting with the restoration efforts.  Crews are currently focusing on neighbourhoods and individual homes still affected by outages.

In situations where the homeowner is required to make repairs before the power can be restored, the homeowner will need to provide Hydro with the ESA inspection certificate number and customer contact information. Homeowners are advised to call 416-542-8000 with this information so that Hydro can initiate a work order.

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 that require special assistance.

There are currently 70 Forestry crews and 17 staff in single vehicles triaging calls 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. There are also 13 forestry crews from Ottawa and London that are assisting Toronto's forestry staff with debris removal.

All motorists, especially truck drivers, are reminded to watch for low hanging wires particularly on residential streets.

Members of the public are urged to be aware of their surroundings. Residents are urged to watch for falling ice around buildings, large structures (such as cranes), and vehicles, particularly around large trucks. Residents are also urged to exercise extreme caution and avoid walking under trees that are covered in ice, particularly in parks, wooded valleys, and near playgrounds.

Toronto Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Call volumes continue to be higher, but are approaching normal levels for both Toronto EMS and Toronto Fire Services.

Residents are urged to not operate propane, natural gas or charcoal barbecues indoors as they can create a dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning hazard if not properly 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.

When power does return to your home, check all appliances and ensure they are operating properly.

The Ontario Provincial Police and Toronto Police Services have been canvassing door-to-door in neighbourhoods where power outages continue.  Residents are asked to please check on seniors and vulnerable residents.

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 all tree debris is expected to begin January 3rd and it will continue for approximately eight 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.  Please do not place debris on the sidewalk or in the roadway. Please keep it on the boulevard, or on your property. You need to provide at least one meter of clearance to ensure those with mobility issues can safely pass.

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 remove this material.

Homeowners do not require a City permit to remove damaged or downed trees that are hazardous. Tree removal may not be needed. Some trees can be saved with proper care and maintenance. Trees may be pruned to remove damaged branches. Please use a professional arborist to ensure safety.

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

Chainsaw Safety
Only use a chainsaw that you have been trained to use properly and safely. Always wear protective equipment and clothing. Be aware of your surroundings such as weather conditions, terrain, wildlife, buildings, power lines, vehicles, and other people.

Toronto Roads and Traffic
The number of signalized intersections without power continues to decrease. An estimated 30 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.

There are more than 40 Transportation crews currently addressing debris management especially around schools, and there are more than 40 crews focused on repairing potholes again today.

Truck drivers are asked to watch for low hanging wires on residential streets.

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. 108 people were accommodated last night.

Here is an amended list of Toronto Community Centre locations:
Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Dr. (Eglinton/Don Mills)
Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Watford Rd. (Sheppard/Midland)
Joseph J Piccininni Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Ave. W. (St Clair/Keele)
Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard St. E. (Pape/Gerrard)
Edithvale Community Centre, 131 Finch Ave. W. (between Bathurst and Yonge)
Pleasantview Community Centre, 545 Van Horne Ave. (between Edmonton and Brian)
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)

Warming centres open until midnight:
Heron Park Community Centre, 292 Manse Road (Kingston/Lawrence)
Don Montgomery Community Centre, 2467 Eglinton Ave. E. (Eglinton/Midland)

Holiday Waste Pickup
Residents are reminded that 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.

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
Residents who have been without power, or recently had their power restored, are advised to reduce the risk of a food borne illness:

  • If you have been without power for 24 hours or longer, all food in the fridge should be thrown out.
  • During a power outage of 48 hours or longer, all food in the freezer should be thrown out.
  • Any leftover cooked food that cannot be reheated or stored in a working refrigerator or freezer should be thrown out.

Never eat food that looks or smells strange - when in doubt, throw it out.

More food safety tips are available at http://bitly.com/Jxt79e.

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.

Children's Services
All TDSB sites that have childcare will be open tomorrow except for Fairmount, Hillmount, and Broadlands. Also, all City operated centres will be open tomorrow.

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, Ontario Hydro and other municipalities that have sent hydro and forestry crews. The City would also like to thank residents who have assisted our crews by moving tree branches off the roads and onto the 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 contacts: 
Wynna Brown, Strategic Communications, 416-919-6503, wbrown1@toronto.ca
John Gosgnach, Strategic Communications, 647-404-4531, jgosgna@toronto.ca