These are some suggested steps you can take in order to better prepare for significant storms.

When officials predict that a storm will hit your area:
  • Continue to monitor the news
  • Get supplies (i.e. ready to eat food, bottled water)
  • Refill prescriptions if you fear you may run out
  • Fill your car's gas tank
  • Make sure you have fresh batteries, a working flashlight, a battery powered radio
  • Only fill a gasoline can if it can be stored securely
  • Ensure that cellular phones, tools, or anything that can be re-charged has been and stays recharged
  • Collect important documents (wallets, passports, etc)
  • Get some cash

When a storm warning is issued:
  • Continue to monitor the news
  • Secure your boat, aircraft, recreation vehicle
  • DO NOT tape your windows - if the window breaks, it may create glass daggers
  • Move everything you can out of flood prone areas
  • Clear your yard of loose objects
  • Move potted plants, patio furniture, etc. into a secure area so that it won't fly around
  • Remove your roof antenna if you can
  • DO NOT turn off your natural gas at the main meter - only your gas supplier is qualified to do this

When a storm is imminent (i.e. hours away):
  • Continue to monitor the news
  • Put on your medic alert tag
  • Fill your bathtub with clean water
  • Shut off your main water supply to prevent contamination
  • Secure your valuables
  • Move fragile items away from windows
  • Ensure that you have emergency numbers handy (e.g. insurance, utilities, local hospitals)
  • Stay off the roads and remain close to your home - you may have to move indoors quickly

During a storm:
  • Continue to monitor the news
  • Stay indoors
  • Retreat to a secure area of your home if you feel the storm is becoming more intense
  • Don't use the telephone unless you have to (i.e. to call 9-1-1)
  • Avoid using electrical devices if you can


It may seem that the storm has passed. Beware, this may only be the eye of a hurricane. If it is, the storm could once again get very violent, very quickly. Be vigilant.

Going out in a storm is very dangerous. Things like loose roofing shingles can become projectiles which travel through the air at speeds in excess of 100 km/h. Being hit by flying debris can cause serious injury and has been known to cause fatalities.

After a storm:
  • Continue to monitor the news
  • Driving may be treacherous - don't drive unless you have to
  • If your home becomes flooded, call your insurer immediately to seek advice. Take measures to protect property from further damage
  • DO NOT call 9-1-1 unless there is an emergency
  • DO NOT touch power lines
  • Take precaution when removing downed tree limbs - they may be holding up heavier sections of the tree or damaged structures
  • Follow the instructions of officials when you encounter them - be prepared to prove your identity and address if you are returning home

Lessons learned:

During the summer 2003 power blackout, many Ontario residents found themselves stranded, unable to purchase gasoline at the pumps. While nobody can predict power outages, storms can be predicted. If a major storm is coming, fill up with gas. If the power is out, you may not be able to get gas for several days.

During that same blackout, most people were unable to use their stoves. Restaurants were without power, and therefore couldn't serve meals. Many people resorted to cooking on their BBQ's.
If the power is out, your refrigerator may be able to keep food cool for up to 24 hours, as long as you don't open it. Monitor the situation carefully. If you suspect food is spoiling, then get rid of it. It's your safest option.

When phone lines go out, people resort to using their cell phones in order to communicate. This places a heavy burden on the cell phone infrastructure. In many cases, you will not be able to place a call easily. You will need to be patient.

Sources of information:

The Weather Network -
Environment Canada -
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation -
The Palm Beach Post (to monitor developing storms) -
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