Security Health & Safety



We have received a letter from an owner who was concerned that there was no information available to help people in high-rises prepare for emergencies, such as the power outage we had last summer. This owner cannot handle stairs so she was trapped in her apartment during the outage. She has been kind enough to draft up a list of items that residents can use to help plan for this type of emergency. I am sharing with you here the basic elements of her list. It was suggested that an outage of not more than three days might be expected, so plans should allow for supplies to cover three days



– Store 2 litres per day per person for drinking.

– Store an additional 2 litres per day per person for food preparation, hygiene and dish washing.

– For pets, allow 30 ml per kg of body weight per day.

– Bottled water can be safely stored for one year.

– Water in the toilet tank (not the toilet bowl!!) is clean and can be used for drinking. Do not flush the toilet, because the tank will not refill until the power is back on.

– To disinfect water, add 1 drop of unscented household bleach (Javex) per litre of clear water, or 3 drops per litre of cloudy water. Stir and let sit for 30 minutes before drinking or using for cooking. The water should have a slight chlorine smell.



– Keep at least a week’s supply of medications on hand.

– Store three days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods and drinks that require neither cooking nor refrigeration (e.g. canned foods, biscuits, crackers, honey, peanut butter, etc).

– Be sure to have a manual can opener on hand.

– Refrigerators and freezers will keep food cold for up to 24 hours, if the door is kept shut. If the food thaws, eat it as soon as possible, before it spoils. If there is more than you can eat quickly, throw it out.

– Don’t forget storing food for babies and pets!

– Don’t keep ready-to-eat foods more than a year. Replace your supply annually.



– The best form of lighting is general illumination of the room. This reduces the risk of falls and allows one to see what one is doing in the kitchen or bathroom.

– Candles are not highly recommended, because they produce very little light, are a fire hazard and can be difficult to handle as you move from place to place.

– Flashlights are better than candles but are still cumbersome to carry around and provide narrow beams of illumination.

– Head lamps, available at Canadian Tire, provide task lighting and leave both hands free.

– Battery-powered lanterns, available at Canadian Tire, use 4 D-cell batteries, provide general lighting, and are very safe to use. Be sure to have extra batteries on hand.

– Never use fuel-burning camping lanterns indoors or on balconies! These are a fire hazard, produce carbon monoxide and are not allowed in units or on the common element, according to our declaration and the fire regulations.



– Have moist towelettes on hand for emergency situations. Replace them every few months, as they dry out.

– Keep a well-stocked first aid kit on hand that includes alcohol wipes, alcohol and peroxide for cleaning and disinfecting.

– Keep all bodily waste and garbage separate and secure away from living quarters.

– Dispose of all bodily waste and garbage appropriately once power is restored.



– It is recommended that no cooking be done during a power outage. There is no portable stove or grill that can be safely used in an apartment or on a balcony. All fuels, including charcoal briquettes, propane, and natural gas, produce carbon monoxide, are a fire risk, and are not allowed in units or on the common element, according to our declaration and the fire regulations.

– Consume refrigerator and freezer food, if it can be safely eaten without cooking and has not gone bad.

– Consume the ready-to-eat meals you have stored for emergencies.



– The intercom will be powered by our emergency generator and important messages will be transmitted as needed.

– Keep a battery-powered radio in your apartment. Be sure to have spare batteries on hand.

– Always have at least one land-line phone that does not require electricity (i.e. plugs in only to the telephone outlet). Cell phones will not work during a power outage.



-If a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows, it’s always sensible to find out why. Don’t use a fuse or breaker rated at more than the capacity of the circuit.

-Use extension cords only temporarily and with care. Remember that voltage drops over distance and can cause some appliances to overheat. Never run electrical cords under carpets or hang them from nails.

-Look for a recognized seal of approval on electrical appliances and cords (usually CSA or ULC).

Remember that even a fuse of correct amperage will not prevent sparks from frayed wires from causing fires.

-Look out for thermostats serving electrical heaters and appliances; these can sometimes weld themselves shut, even in the “off” position. If in doubt, fill out a work order to have your thermostats checked.

-Don’t use a naked flame instead of a flashlight, especially anywhere that dust or vapour could ignite.

-Don’t use a naked flame instead of a flashlight, especially anywhere that dust or vapour could ignite.

-Treat hair spray, nail polish and remover with respect; they contain a high proportion of solvent. These products and smoking don’t mix.

-Never try to get more heat out of an appliance that it was designed to provide.

-If a fire starts in a conventional oven or microwave, close the door and starve it of oxygen.

-When deep-fat frying, use only a thermostatically controlled electrical appliance that is approved by CSA or ULC.

-Clean stove-hood filters, vents and grease traps frequently.

-Smother grease fires with dry powder from a fire extinguisher or tightly cover the burning contents of the pan or pot. You can throw baking soda or salt on a grease fire, but never throw water, which tends to spread the flames.

-Never throw flour or uncooked cereal on a fire.

-Never store flammable liquids in your unit, your storage locker, or the garage.

-Make sure that curtains and towels cannot blow over a hot stove.

-Keep your matches and lighters out of reach of children. Store matches in fire-resistant containers.

-Beware of butane lighters, especially those without safety valves; they explode easily.

-Provide smokers with plenty of deep ashtrays.

-Never smoke in bed or lying down.

-Remember that even mothball fumes are flammable and know that alcohol burns withoutPDust can explode. Vacuum cleaner dust and floor sweepings should be wrapped carefully and discarded with household garbage.

-Never leave small children at home alone. Kids like to experiment with fire.

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