On December 23, 2013, I hosted a few friends for Christmas dinner and for those of you that remember that year in Toronto, the next few days were terribly cold for those of us that lost power.
Our family was without power for six days! This meant we had to operate our elevator manually. My younger brother Torrance’s BiPAP and ceiling lift thankfully had a backup battery which we used sparingly. We kept warm in the kitchen as a family for the entire day, we told and listened to stories, laughed while playing cards and listened to the radio to pass the time.
We’re grateful that we managed to overcome the cold and without power even when Torrance has equipment requiring power to operate. Which is why I’m excited to see Toronto Hydro’s Life Support Notification Program that has the possibility to make neighbourhoods with people needing life-saving equipment a priority. This is really important for our family now that Torrance is using additional equipment such as a cough assist machine and a ventilator access to power is now more important than ever.
Toronto Hydro does state that:
…we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted supply of electricity. If your name is on our registry, we will, however, make every effort to inform you of any power outages scheduled by Toronto Hydro, so that you can make alternate arrangements to have sufficient back-up power to support your critical equipment.
Here are some preparations suggestions from Toronto Hydro:
- Purchasing equipment that has battery back-up. Remember to keep the battery charged and to test the battery every six months.
- If you use a backup generator, please understand that customers are responsible for the safe installation, use, and maintenance of any backup power.
- Keeping phone numbers of emergency response agencies (e.g., 911, hospital, fire department, police) in a convenient location, in the event emergency assistance is needed.
- Having an alternate plan in place to ensure the continuity of any life-support needs. This may include making special arrangements to spend time with a friend or relative during an outage or using a backup generator.
- Ensuring that you have a backup telephone if you use a cordless or another telephone that is dependent on electricity.
- Having a battery-powered radio on hand and a supply of fresh batteries to stay aware of news and other information.
- Keeping an emergency box or bag of supplies, such as medical items, flashlights and candles, packed at all times. It’s much easier to locate one box or bag of supplies in the dark rather than searching around the house looking for each item.
If you have a family, friend or colleague with life-saving equipment needs please get them to fill out the application and get on the Toronto Hydro Life Support Notification Program list.