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Skip Navigation LinksSimcoe County > Departments > Emergency Management > Home Emergency Preparedness > Know the Risks

Know the Risks

Knowing the risks in Simcoe County can help you prepare for the unexpected.

  • Meteorological events (flood or flash flood, forest or urban fire, snowstorm, ice storm, extreme temperatures, windstorms including tornadoes)
  • Accidents  (hazardous material spill, explosions, transportation accidents, building collapse, water contamination, train derailment)
  • Technological events  (power failures, phone system interruptions)
  • Biological events (outbreak of disease, human or animal borne)
  • Intentional acts  (labour strike, crime, arson, civil unrest)



Downed Power LinesDowned Power Lines<img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Powerline falling on car" src="/EmergencyManagement/PublishingImages/downedpowerlines.jpg?RenditionID=11" style="margin:5px 15px;" /><strong>If you notice a fallen power line</strong>:<br><ul><li>Always stay away from a downed power line</li><li><strong>Treat all lines as a danger <em>but</em> </strong>only call 9-1-1 if it is a life-threatening situation i.e.: the power line has fallen on an individual or car.</li><li>Keep back a minimum of 10 metres (33 feet) from wires or anything in contact with them and warn others of the danger.</li><li>Always assume that the lines are live (this means they have electricity running through them, therefore they are extremely dangerous).  It is difficult to distinguish between power lines and other utility lines (e.g. telephone or cable lines) and they also carry sufficient power to cause harm. </li></ul><strong>If you notice someone is in contact with a fallen power line</strong>:<br><ul><li>Stay clear of the area</li><li>Do not try to free someone in contact with a line; call 9-1-1 instead. </li><li>Avoid anything that is, or may be, in contact with the line, such as a tree or fence. </li><li>If a power line falls on the vehicle you are in, stay inside until help comes and advises you it is safe to get out. The tires of the vehicle will allow a pathway for the electricity to travel therefore you will be safe until an emergency crew arrives to help.</li></ul><h3>Hydro One and Electricity Providers</h3><p><strong>PowerStream / Barrie Hydro</strong>:</p><ul><li>Barrie and Thornton ... (705) 722-7222</li><li>Bradford-West Gwillimbury ... (705) 775-2201</li><li>New Tecumseth ... (905) 729-4521</li><li>Penetanguishene ... (705) 549-8081</li></ul><p><strong>Orillia Power Corporation</strong> ... (705) 326-7315</p><p><strong>Wasaga Beach Hydro Electric Commission</strong> ... (705) 429-2517</p><p><strong>Hydro One customers call</strong>:</p><ul><li>Power Outages and Emergencies (24 Hours) ... 1 (800) 434-1235</li></ul><br><br>
EarthquakesEarthquakes<p><img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Earthquake aftermath" src="/EmergencyManagement/PublishingImages/earthquake.jpg?RenditionID=11" style="margin:5px 15px;" />An earthquake is the result of the sudden movement of two blocks of bedrock along a break, or "fault", deep in the earth's crust.</p><p><strong>Preparing your home for an earthquake</strong><br></p><ul><li>Move or secure objects that could fall and injure you</li><li>Secure objects that could start a fire or break gas or water lines if they topple, such as the water heater and other heavy appliances (e.g. stove, washer, dryer)</li><li>Locate beds and chairs away from chimneys and windows</li><li>Use child-proof or safety latches on cupboards to stop the contents from spilling out</li><li>Keep flammable items or household chemicals away from heat and where they are less likely to spill</li></ul><strong>During an earthquake</strong><br> <ul><li>Expect the ground or floor to move, perhaps violently. You will probably feel dizzy and be unable to walk during the earthquake. If you live in a high rise or a multi-storey building, you may experience more sway and less shaking </li><li>A moderate earthquake might last only a few seconds while a large earthquake could last for several minutes</li><li>Wherever you are when an earthquake starts, take cover under a strong structure away from windows, shelves, and heavy hanging objects. Cover your head and neck and stay there until the shaking stops</li><li>If you are in a vehicle avoid bridges, overpasses, buildings, power lines, or anything that could collapse on you and your car</li><li>After shocks can occur when the earth underneath the surface adjusts to it's new position, stay in a safe area until the aftershocks have stopped</li></ul><p></p><p><strong><em></em></strong> </p><p><strong><em>Did you Know</em></strong><br><em>An earthquake felt in Simcoe County on June 23 2010 had a 5.0 magnitude with the epicentre in Val-des-Bois, Quebec.  The earthquake was felt as far as New York City.</em></p>
WindstormsWindstorms<img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Tree cracking in half from windstorm" src="/EmergencyManagement/PublishingImages/windstorm_tree.jpg?RenditionID=9" style="margin:5px 15px;" />Windstorms and down bursts can sometimes cause as much damage as a tornado. This severe weather should be taken seriously.<br><br><strong>Potential dangers in a windstorm</strong>:<br> <ul><li>Debris and falling trees cause severe damage to buildings and vehicles, and can cause fatalities.</li><li>Fallen power lines can cause widespread power outages.</li><li>Garage doors are the weakest link in the outer structure of a house. Exterior load bearing walls of buildings can fail, which results in the collapse of the roof.</li><li>Loose window frames are especially vulnerable during severe windstorms.</li><li>Light metal buildings, such as garden sheds, can collapse completely.</li></ul><strong>What to do during a windstorm</strong>:<br> <ul><li>Remain calm.</li><li>If you are inside, move away from windows and exterior walls.</li><li>If you are outdoors, move into a safe building and avoid downed power lines.</li><li>If you are driving, pull off the road and stop away from trees and power lines. Avoid overpasses. If possible, walk quickly into a safe building.</li></ul><p><strong>Microburst</strong>: a downward burst of wind that can causes severe damage similar to a tornado.  <a href="http://www.radar.mcgill.ca/science/ex-phenomenon/ex-thunderstorms.html" target="_blank">McGill - Example of Thunderstorms and Microbursts</a><strong><em></em></strong></p><p> <strong><em></em></strong> </p><p> <strong><em>Did You Know?</em></strong><br><em>Windstorms and microbursts can sometimes cause as much damage as a tornado</em><br></p>
TornadoesTornadoes<p><img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Tornado in sky" src="/EmergencyManagement/PublishingImages/tornado.jpg?RenditionID=9" style="margin:5px 15px;" />Tornadoes are formed suddenly, often preceding very warm and humid weather. Typically they are accompanied by very dark skies, thunder and lightening as well as sounds of rumbling and whistling.</p><p><strong>During a Tornado</strong><br> </p><ul><li>Go to the basement or take shelter in a small interior ground floor room such as a bathroom, closet or hallway.  </li><li>Stay away from windows, outside walls and doors. Do not use elevators</li><li>If you are driving and happen to notice a tornado in the distance, try to get to a nearby shelter. If the tornado is close, get out of your car and take cover in a low-lying area.<br><br></li></ul> <p><strong><em>Did You Know? </em></strong></p><p><em>Ontario averages about 11 tornadoes per year. On June 23 2010 an F2 tornado hit Midland, Ontario causing property damage of up to $15 million, fortunately only minor injuries were reported.</em> </p>
FloodsFloods<p> <strong><img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Cars floating in water due to flood" src="/EmergencyManagement/PublishingImages/floods.jpg?RenditionID=11" style="margin:5px 15px;" />IMPORTANT: Never cross a flooded area</strong></p><p> <strong>To reduce the likelihood of flood damage</strong>:<br></p><ul><li>Put weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground level doors </li><li>Install downspout drainage at a sufficient distance away from your residence to ensure that water moves away from the building </li><li>Consider installing a sump pump and zero reverse flow valves in basement floor drains<br></li></ul> <strong>During a Flood</strong><br> <ul><li>Shut off the electricity</li><li>If the area around the fuse box or circuit breaker is wet, stand on a dry board and shut off the power with a dry wooden stick</li><li>Try to move furniture, electrical appliances and other belongings to floors above ground level </li><li>Disconnect eavestroughs if they are connected to the house sewer</li></ul><p> </p><p><a href="https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/mrgnc-mngmnt/ntrl-hzrds/fld-en.aspx">Public Safety Canada - Floods</a></p><p><strong style="text-decoration:underline;">Flood Classifications</strong></p><ul><li><strong>FLOOD ADVISORY</strong>: notifies that the potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities.</li><li><strong>FLOOD WARNING</strong>: notifies that flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities.</li><li><strong>FLOOD SAFETY BULLETIN</strong>: notifies that unsafe lake, river and channel conditions exist.</li><li><strong>WATERSHED CONDITIONS BULLETINS</strong>: notifies of anticipated watershed conditions</li></ul>
Severe WeatherSevere Weather<ul><li><img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Thunderstorm" src="/EmergencyManagement/PublishingImages/red_lightning_bolt.jpg?RenditionID=11" style="margin:5px 15px;" />If a severe storm is forecast, secure everything that might be blown around or torn loose, both indoors and outdoors. Flying objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture can injure people and damage property</li><li>If you live in an area where blizzards or heavy snows are frequent, ensure your emergency preparedness kit includes extra heating fuel and ready-to-eat foods</li><li>Maintain your property. Trim dead branches and cut down dead trees to reduce the danger of these falling onto your house during a storm. Check the drainage system around the house to reduce the possibility of basement flooding after a heavy rain</li><li>When a severe storm is on the horizon the <a href="http://weather.gc.ca/canada_e.html" target="_blank">Environment Canada</a> issues advisories, watches, and warnings through the <a href="http://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=son" target="_blank">Public Alerts</a> website, automated telephone information lines and Environment Canada's <a href="http://www.ec.gc.ca/meteo-weather/default.asp?lang=En&n=792F2D20-1" target="_blank">Weatheradio Network</a>.</li><li>If hail is forecast, you may want to protect your vehicle by putting it in the garage</li><li>In the case of a severe thunderstorm unplug radios and televisions -- listen for weather updates on your battery-powered or crank-powered radio</li></ul> <strong>Severe Weather Types</strong>:<br> <ul><li><a href="/EmergencyManagement/Pages/tornadoes.aspx">Tornadoes</a></li><li><a href="http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/hzd/svrstrms-eng.aspx#b1" target="_blank">Snow Storms</a></li><li><a href="/EmergencyManagement/Pages/windstorms.aspx">Windstorms</a></li><li>Extreme Temperatures</li><li><a href="http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/hzd/svrstrms-eng.aspx#b6" target="_blank">Thunderstorms</a></li><li><a href="http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/hzd/svrstrms-eng.aspx#b4" target="_blank">Ice Storm</a></li><li><a href="/EmergencyManagement/Pages/floods.aspx">Floods</a></li><li>Freezing Rain</li></ul><p> </p><p><strong>Special weather statements</strong> are issued for weather events that are unusual, cause general inconvenience or public concern, and cannot adequately be described in a weather forecast.</p><p><strong>Watches </strong>are issued when conditions exist that are favourable for a possible summer or winter storm. The storm could affect safety at at the very least will cause an inconvenience. In the summer a watch is issued up to 6 hours before a storm. In the winter, a watch can be issued up to 12-24 hours in advance. A watch can be upgraded to a warning.</p><p><strong>Warnings</strong> are issued when severe weather is occurring or will occur. Severe summer storm warnings, such as thunderstorms, can be issued less than 1 hour in advance of the storm. Updates are issued as needed. Warnings should be taken seriously. When a warning is issued you should seek shelter and prepare to activate your emergency plan. </p>
Winter Power FailuresWinter Power Failures<p><img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Downed power lines" src="/EmergencyManagement/PublishingImages/hydro_winter.jpg?RenditionID=11" style="margin:5px 15px;" />Winter power failures are often caused by high winds, freezing rain, and sleet. These weather conditions can damage power lines and distributing equipment, shutting off power to homes and resulting in damage.</p><p><strong>During a winter power failure</strong><br></p><ul><li>If power lines are downed on your property, notify your hydro provider. Only call 9-1-1 if someone is in immediate danger due to the power lines i.e. in a vehicle under the lines or actually in contact with the lines, or a fire has been started.</li><li>Turn off all appliances and electronic equipment to prevent injury when the power is restored. Turn down the thermostat to a minimum since power can be restored more easily when there is not a heavy demand on the system.</li><li>Do not use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment, or home generators indoors because they can release potentially fatal carbon monoxide, which cannot be seen or smelled.</li><li>Never leave candles unattended.</li></ul><p><br> </p><p><em><strong>Did You Know?</strong></em><br><br><em>Exposure to cold weather puts additional strain on your heart. The second most likely cause of winter storm related deaths are heart attacks as a result of activities such as shovelling snow and pushing cars out of snow banks</em><br><br></p>
Power OutagesPower Outages<p><strong><img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Picture of power line" src="/EmergencyManagement/PublishingImages/powerlines.jpg?RenditionID=9" style="margin:5px 15px;" />Power Advisory</strong>: Issued when electricity is in tight supply and all consumers are asked to voluntarily reduce their electrical consumption.</p><p><strong>Power Warning</strong>: Issued when levels of electrical supplies become concerning and all consumers are asked to immediately reduce their consumption. A further increase in electrical demand may result in the need to implement load shedding.</p><p><strong>Power Emergency</strong>: Issued when load shedding must be implemented.</p><p><strong>Preparing in advance of a power outage</strong><br></p><ul><li>Be sure to include a flashlight, batteries and a portable radio in your emergency preparedness kit.</li><li>Back-up critical electronic files.</li><li>Ensure there is at least one analog telephone in your home. Analog phones do not require an electrical outlet and you will be able to make calls to emergency services, if necessary, during a power outage.</li><li>Keep the fuel tank in your car at least half full since gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.</li></ul><p><a href="http://www.hydroone.com/stormcenter/" target="_blank">Hydro One Power Outages</a></p><h3>Hydro One and Electricity Providers</h3><p><strong>PowerStream / Barrie Hydro</strong>:</p><ul><li>Barrie and Thornton ... (705) 722-7222</li><li>Bradford-West Gwillimbury ... (705) 775-2201</li><li>New Tecumseth ... (905) 729-4521</li><li>Penetanguishene ... (705) 549-8081</li></ul><p><strong>Orillia Power Corporation</strong> ... (705) 326-7315</p><p><strong>Wasaga Beach Hydro Electric Commission</strong> ... (705) 429-2517</p><p><strong>Hydro One customers call</strong>:</p><ul><li>Power Outages and Emergencies (24 Hours) ... 1 (800) 434-1235</li></ul><p><br><br> </p>