TORONTO, Dec. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Currently, Environment Canada is calling for periods of freezing drizzle mixed with drizzle ending early this evening then a 60 per cent chance of flurries or freezing drizzle with increased winds gusting to 40 km/hour with a low of -5 Celsius. For the most up-to-date weather information, visit Environment Canada's website at http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/index.html.
The City of Toronto opened its Emergency Operations Centre yesterday at 11 a.m. and continues to respond to assist residents. The City's emergency services (Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Police) are operating and managing increased call volumes. Residents are reminded to only call 911 in the event of an emergency. The non-emergency number for Toronto Police Service is 416-808-2222. Residents who use home oxygen and have concerns can call 416-310-2222 for assistance.
Toronto Hydro reports that approximately 265,000 customers are currently without power and that additional customers could be affected as winds pick up and temperatures drop. Hydro crews are working around the clock to respond. The utility hopes to have power restored by Wednesday.
Residents affected by power outages should make preparations for the next 48 to 72 hours, and are encouraged to seek assistance from family, friends and neighbours where possible.
Vulnerable residents and those who need assistance are encouraged to attend one of the City's Reception Centres where they can access food, water, warmth and rest. Pets are welcome.
Updated list of Reception Centres:
Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre
29 St Denis Drive (Eglinton/Don Mills)
Malvern Community Centre
30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Rd/Finch)
Agincourt Community Centre
31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)
Driftwood Community Centre
4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)
Mitchell Field Community Centre
89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)
Joseph J Piccininni Community Centre
1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)
Franklin Horner Community Centre
432 Horner Avenue
2 Civic Centre Court
Near Etobicoke Civic Centre
Matty Eckler Community Centre
953 Gerrard Street East
McGregor Park Community Centre
2231 Lawrence Avenue East
To get an emergency shelter bed any day, any hour, call 311 or directly contact the City of Toronto's Central Intake line within the Greater Toronto Area toll-free at 1-877-338 3398, or go in person to the Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre, located at 129 Peter St. (at Richmond Street).
The Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre is always open and has 24-hour street respite for those who do not want a shelter bed, as well as walk-in access to shelter beds throughout the system. Housing workers are available Monday to Friday to assist street-involved people to find permanent housing.
If you see someone whom you think requires street outreach assistance, call 311 if it is not an emergency. In an emergency, dial 911.
For TTC updates, please visit www.ttc.ca. TTC service continues to be suspended on the Sheppard subway, Scarborough rapid transit and all streetcar routes. The Yonge-University-Spadina and Bloor-Danforth subway lines are operational, however some stations will be bypassed due to lack of local power for lighting. Shuttle bus services are replacing all suspended service, however, expect significant delays.
Personal preparedness tips:
Being prepared for emergencies such as severe snow or ice storms, hurricanes or floods can significantly reduce damage inflicted on your property. With the associated risks of flooded basements and power failures, residents should be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation.
As part of emergency planning, all Toronto residents should have a three-day supply on hand for each family member of the following items:
- Ensure you have critical medications on hand.
- Drinking water (keep water in containers and fill your bathtub)
- Canned food and a manual can opener
- Batteries for flashlights and radios
- A first aid kit
- Gasoline for your car
- A transistor radio
Residents are reminded to:
- Keep cell phone batteries charged
- Know the locations of all electrical panels, and water and gas shutoff valves in your home
- Keep flashlights where you can find them in the dark
- Consider using surge protectors to protect sensitive electronic equipment
- Try to keep children and pets indoors and consider working from home
- When shovelling or clearing ice, residents are reminded not to over-exert themselves, consider their fitness level, and take frequent breaks
- Please do not push snow back out onto the roadway.
- Please offer to help elderly neighbours or those individuals who may need some assistance
Safety on the road:
- Toronto Transportation has cleared and salted all main roads
- Avoid driving if possible and exercise caution when you must do so
- Please be very careful and watch for any debris especially tree branches that may be on the roadway
- If traffic signals are out, treat the affected intersections as a four-way stop
- Call 311 to report non-working traffic signals
- Pedestrians should exercise caution as sidewalks are very slippery; watch for falling ice when walking by buildings.
- Residents can assist by cleaning catch basins in front of their house to help water run off the roads and reduce the risk of flooded streets.
During a power outage:
- Exercise extreme caution when using candles
- Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes
- Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out
- Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored
- When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro
- Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.
How to report a power outage or power lines down:
- Call Toronto Hydro-Electric System's Lights Out number at 416-542-8000 for serious situations only. Call volumes continue to be very high; please be patient and keep the lines open for serious occurrences.
After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:
- Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights
- Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers
During a power outage, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips can help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:
- Keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours - if the door is kept closed.
- Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C for more than two hours.
- Keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours - if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
- Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4°C or below - evaluate each item separately.
- Partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food, but food will remain safe to eat.
- If possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period.
- Discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
- If you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it out.
- Contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin.
For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/foodsafe/homefood.html.
For more information and advice about emergency preparedness visit http://www.toronto.ca/oem.
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, Manager of Media Relations and Issues Management, Strategic Communications, 416-919-6503, [email protected]