More than 50% of Ontarians see risk of another prolonged blackout

    Candles, Batteries and Traditional Telephone on list of must-haves
    when the lights go out

    TORONTO, Aug. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - As the fourth anniversary of the biggest
blackout in North American history approaches, survey results from Impact
Research show that more than half of Ontarians surveyed believe there is a
real risk that the province will experience another such event in the next two
    Four years after the August 14, 2003 blackout left some 50 million people
in the dark, including 10 million in Ontario, 52% of Ontarians believe they
could be living through another prolonged power outage in the next two years.
Impact Research conducted the study on behalf of Cossette Communication Group
and its clients Bell Canada and Home Depot.
    The study also asked Ontarians what actions they took when faced with a
loss of power and about the relative importance they assigned to different
goods and services during a blackout.
    Most Ontarians (42%) mentioned getting candles, flashlights and batteries
as being the first thing they did when they experienced a power cut while
others said that the first thing they did when the lights went off was pick up
a phone to make a call.
    The survey found that the top six goods and services Ontarians believe to
be essential or very important to have during a blackout were flashlights,
candles and matches, appropriate food, drinkable water, heating and a
    The survey also found that while 57% of Ontario respondents rated a
telephone as being "essential" or "very important", 55% did not know that
cable phones or VoIP-based telephony would not provide reliable service during
a prolonged blackout because these technologies depend on power.
    Cossette, Bell Canada and Home Depot offer the following advice to
Ontarians interested in preparing their homes and families to deal with a
prolonged power blackout:

    1. Consult the websites and publications of public agencies like
       Emergency Management Ontario for detailed advice on emergency
       preparation and for comprehensive checklists of supplies and materials
       that will help you and your family cope in an emergency.

    2. To ensure that you can make emergency or urgent telephone calls, make
       sure you have access to a traditional landline telephone that will
       remain fully functional during a prolonged blackout.

    3. Have a three day emergency supply of food and water and a one week
       supply of any required medications. Remember that the lights will be
       out and the power will be off so the food should be non-perishable and
       ready to eat. You should have at least 4 litres of water per person
       per day.

    4. To ensure that emergency workers and first responders are able to
       communicate effectively and to help maintain the 911 service, refrain
       from using 911 to report a blackout.

    5. In addition to having an adequate supply of flashlights, batteries,
       candles and matches do not forget to store any special batteries
       required to operate medical appliances and devices.

    Impact Research is a division of Cossette Communication Group specialized
in qualitative and quantitative research, exploratory research and evaluation
of marketing and communications activities (surveys, focus groups, etc.)

    Cossette Communication Group Inc. offers a full range of leading-edge
communication services to clients of all sizes, including some of the most
prestigious brands in the world. A customer-driven organization built around
highly specialized business units, Cossette also offers Convergent
CommunicationsTM, a unique working method that brings added value to the
client by integrating various services offered by the Group, including
advertising, media planning and buying, sales promotion, database and direct
marketing, customer relationship management, interactive solutions, public
relations and alliance marketing, brand management and graphic design,
strategic planning and research services, ethnic marketing, urban youth
marketing, sports marketing, branded content and product placement,
business-to-business communications (B2B practices). Cossette has
approximately 1,600 employees and offices in Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto,
Vancouver, Halifax, New York, Boston, Irvine, Los Angeles, London, Moscow and

For further information:

For further information: Sylvia Kavanagh, (416) 934-8035; Source: Impact
Research - Cossette Communication Group

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