Tips to Help Keep You Safe During a Winter Storm

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) offers the following safety tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe from electrical hazards that may include downed powerlines and flooding.

Severe and even fatal injuries can occur by touching or even being in close proximity to powerlines and electrical wires. The flow of electricity through the human body can burn, severely injure or kill. That leaves no room for mistakes – never put yourself in electricity’s path.

In the community:

  • Downed powerlines may be live. Stay at least 35 feet or 11 meters away as electricity can travel through water and the ground around powerlines. Immediately report any downed wires to Burlington Hydro (Customer Service: 905-332-1851 or for after hours emergencies 1-877-310-4937) and call 911. Remain well back.

  • Refrain from clearing snow, ice or storm debris until the power is disconnected or powerlines are repaired.

  • If a powerline lands on your vehicle, remain in the vehicle until emergency responders arrive. Exiting a vehicle that has been contacted by a live powerline is extremely dangerous. Similarly, do not attempt to assist someone in a vehicle touched by powerlines.

 Around your home:

  • Heavy accumulation of snow and ice can bring trees and branches down onto powerlines causing blackouts and electrically charged hazards. Inspect the trees surrounding your property and call Burlington Hydro to trim branches away from overhead powerlines (Customer Service: 905-332-1851 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

  • Stay warm, cozy and safe. Do your research before buying portable heaters and electric blankets and ensure they bear a recognized certification mark.

  • Melting snow and ice can contribute to flooding. Beware if water gets into your home as electrical systems may be affected. If you suspect damage to your electrical system, contact a licensed electrical contractor to make the repair.

  • When flood water rises above electrical outlets or power cords or is near the service panel, it could be energized. Contact Burlington Hydro to disconnect the power immediately (Customer Service: 905-332-1851 or for after hours emergencies 1-877-310-4937).

  • Portable generators, when used correctly, can provide security and comfort during power outages. Only use in dry, well ventilated areas and never connect portable generators to electrical appliances or wiring components that have been affected by flood water.

For more information on electrical safety when stormy weather hits, visit: