Ice Storm Update No. 3

My office has been working around the clock through Sunday, Monday and now today responding to hundreds of emails and phone calls from residents reporting power outages, downed power lines, impassable streets, traffic light outages and other ice storm-related issues.

I have also been in constant contact with Toronto Hydro’s CEO Anthony Haines, ensuring that every issue brought to my attention is prioritized by Toronto Hydro.

Large parts of Ward 25 have been significantly impacted by the ice storm and are experiencing large and ongoing power outages, from Don Mills to Hoggs Hollow to Lawrence Park to York Mills to the Yonge-Eglinton area – in Anthony Haine’s opinion, Ward 25 was “decimated.”

I – along with a number of my staff members – have also been without power since early Sunday morning. Like you, I appreciate the impact on holiday plans as well as the frustration of living without power for more than 72 hours.

I also wrote to the Mayor yesterday morning asking him to declare a state of emergency to ensure that all available resources are brought online as quickly as possible.

Like many of you, I want to see a timeline for repairs to each and every impacted area in Ward 25.

Unfortunately, I just got off the phone with senior Toronto Hydro staff and they advised that they are unable to offer any timelines for any specific addresses or neighbourhoods.

Toronto Hydro is also advising to prepare for the worst and expects outages to continue into the weekend.

This morning, Toronto Hydro is reporting approximately 115,000 residents are without power down from 300,000 at the peak of the storm.

Power was restored to Sunnybrook Health Sciences yesterday at 5:00 p.m., freeing up crews to move north, and extra hydro crews from Manitoba, Windsor, Mississauga, Ottawa and Michigan are expected to come online today.

Currently, crews are working to restore feeders, which are the power lines that serve several hundred to several thousand customers each. This will restore power to large areas first and then crews will move on to smaller single street and single home outages.

I have forwarded each and every address and issue brought to my attention to senior Toronto Hydro staff and asked that it be prioritized.

Toronto Hydro has an up-to-date map of affected areas.

If you want to report a power outage, downed power line or other hydro-related emergency, please call Toronto Hydro’s Lights Out Line at (416) 542-8000. Please have patience as you may have difficulty getting through due to a high call volume.

Many have asked me about frozen pipes. The city is advising that if you do not have heat and the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water so there is some movement in pipes 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.

The city is also working on a debris management plan to take care of downed branches. While the plan is still in the works, if you want to get started, you can bundle the sticks and branches and leave them butt side out by the curb.

I have pasted information from my previous updates below – including information about warming centre locations and power outage tips, including food safety information.

For the latest updates, please check my website Facebook  and Twitter.

For residents in need of assistance, the City has opened reception and warming centres with food, water, warmth and rest. Pets are also welcome. Please find the full list of reception centres below:

  • Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)
  • Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/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 P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)
  • Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)
  • Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)
  • 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)

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 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)

Residents are reminded to keep children and pets inside, avoid driving if possible and consider working from home. If you must go out, please exercise caution on the roads and sidewalks. Please also offer help to elderly neighbours or those who might need assistance. If you have power, please consider inviting friends and neighbours into your home to keep warm.

The following are some tips for dealing with a power outage:

  • 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.

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.
  • 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

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