Tips to stay safe this winter

February 12, 2018

Tips to stay safe this winter

Review these safety tips to help protect your home, property and loved ones this season. Kingstonians concerned about the safety of a utility serviced by Utilities Kingston can call the 24-hour line at 613-546-1181.

Keep gas and electrical meters clear: Although your outdoor gas meter is designed to withstand winter weather, heavy or hard-packed snow and ice can be a safety hazard. Keep snow and ice from building up on and covering both your gas and electric meters – and avoid piling snow under the meters or electrical wires. Take care in using a snow blower or plow near your meter and never kick or hit the gas meter or its piping to break away built-up snow or ice. Learn more on our webpage about keeping gas meters clear.

Keep outside exhaust vents cleared: outdoor vents for gas-fired appliances such as furnaces or waters heaters exhaust carbon monoxide and need to be kept clear for safety.

Keep hydrants visible: Residents and snow removal companies are reminded not to shovel or blow snow onto hydrants. We thank citizens who take the time to clear snow and ice from fire hydrants, providing access to fire fighters in case of emergency.

Did you know? After a heavy snow fall, we inspect all 3,400 hydrants in the municipal water distribution system and then make them accessible for fire protection. The inspection process involves dividing the area into 16 'hydrant beats' of approximately 200 hydrants each, visually inspecting each hydrant, and then clearing them of snow and ice as needed.

Prevent water from freezing around electrical lines:  Never attempt to clear ice from around electrical lines yourself (Utilities Kingston customers: call 613-546-1181 if you are concerned).  Keep your eaves troughs free of debris so water runs safely away before it freezes. Ice can build up where overhead electrical service wires attach to your home—a dangerous and costly situation. Consider that the root of the problem may be poor attic insulation.

Protect water lines: Prolonged, extreme cold spells present a risk to water lines freezing. Take steps to prevent this - go to UtilitiesKingston.com/Water/FrozenServices to see if your pipes are at risk and to learn preventative measures. This webpage also explains the processes and responsibilities involved if your water service does freeze.

Report gas smells or "hissing":   If you suspect a gas leak and are inside, leave the premises immediately. Do not do anything that could create a spark (i.e., don't use cell phones, switches or lighters). If you are outside, clear the area and do not use lighters or start vehicles. Call 613-546-1181, ext. 2151 when you are safe. Learn more on our webpage about gas safety.

Install and obey carbon monoxide (CO) alarms:  CO is an invisible, odourless gas that can kill you in high concentrations. If your CO alarm goes off, immediately evacuate all occupants (pets, too!) and call 911. Ontario's Fire Code requires alarms near all sleeping areas in homes with fuel-burning appliances, such as furnaces, stoves or fireplaces. It also applies to all residences with attached garages. Learn more on our webpage about carbon monoxide alarms.

Know what to do in the event of a winter storm:  Severe weather can cause power outages and downed power lines, as well as put your basement at risk of flooding.  Visit the Utilities Kingston website and learn how to be prepared.

For more information on keeping your home and family safe, visit our webpage about winter safety page.