Ice Storm of 2013: Updates

January 2, 2013

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

It’s been a long haul but Toronto Hydro is reporting that all ice storm-related outages have been restored.

I worked around the clock every day for the past ten days alongside my staff, advocating for Ward 25 priorities, staying in constant contact with Toronto Hydro and responding to more than 3,000 emails and phone calls from every neighbourhood in the Ward.

As I mentioned in a previous update, Ward 25, with its many mature trees and extensive canopy coverage, was particularly hard hit by the storm. A number of Ward 25 homes remained without power yesterday and I continued work late into the evening coordinating with Toronto Hydro and making sure power was restored.

Thanks are due to all of the Toronto Hydro staff and city staff that worked day and night to bring the city back online. Thanks are also due to everyone who reached out to help their neighbours, friends and family over the course of the power outage.

There was significant room for improvement in both Toronto Hydro’s and the city’s response, and I am looking forward to a thorough and detailed review.

At September’s Parks and Environment Committee meeting, I successfully passed a motion requesting Urban Forestry to improve the city’s tree pruning response time. Over the next few weeks, I will be working alongside Urban Forestry staff – as well as senior staff from across the city – to identify and implement any and all proactive measures that will improve the city’s readiness and response going forward.

I’ve included below the latest information on the city’s debris management plan, waste collection and ice storm-related compensation.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any other questions or concerns.

Kind regards,

Jaye

**Debris Management Plan**

The city’s debris management plan gets underway tomorrow. Nearly 600 city staff and contractors will be working to remove fallen trees and branches from streets, sidewalks and the city’s rights-of-way. Due to the tremendous amount of storm-related debris, the clean-up is expected to take six to eight weeks.

You can track the progress of debris removal in your neighbourhood via a map on the city’s website, http://www.toronto.ca. The map should be online shortly.

If you have fallen trees or branches on your property of a manageable size (less than six inches in diameter), please place them by the curb for pick up. Please stack the branches neatly with butt ends towards the road, without blocking the roadway or the sidewalk.

For larger limbs and stems (over six inches in diameter) on your property from private trees, please contact a private contractor.

At this time, you do not require a permit to remove or trim damaged or downed trees on your property. For more information, please see the Tree By-law exemption here http://bit.ly/19D07tG.

For city trees (i.e., street trees) that have fallen on your property or on the right-of-way or are in need of maintenance, please call 311 or email 311@toronto.ca.

**Garbage Collection**

This week, curbside collection on Thursday and Friday will move forward one day. This means that Thursday collection moves to Friday, and Friday collection moves to Saturday. Changes are reflected in the residential collection calendar.

Due to downed trees and hydro wires, collection vehicles are not able to reach some areas. There may also be delays. Residents should leave their materials out until they are collected. If required, additional collection crews will work on Monday (not a regularly scheduled collection day).

If you have organic material (food waste) that cannot fit in the Green Bin, please set it out in a clear plastic bag. Food waste will be collected on your regularly scheduled collection day.

I’ve been advised by Solid Waste Management staff that extra tags are not required.

**Roads, Traffic and Parking**

Power has been restored to all traffic signals and all signals are operating normally. Please note that the power supply is not quite stable at all signalized intersections and there may be fluctuations that knock signals out or make them flash. If you see an intersection like this, treat it as an all-way stop. Please also call 311 and report it so that a crew can be sent to investigate and fix the problem.

Where there are icy or blocked driveways, the city will provide parking consideration for residents who park on the street beyond posted times. If you receive a ticket, there is an application that can be filled out to describe the circumstances and request ticket cancellation at http://bitly.com/1ggfwPJ. Completed application forms and documentation can be faxed to 416-696-3652 or sent via e-mail to parkingmeters@toronto.ca.

**Compensation for Ice Storm-Related Damage**

Some of you have asked whether the city will be providing compensation where city trees have damages property, houses, cars, etc. City staff advised me that you can make a claim at the following link: http://bit.ly/1hj2cNC.

**Grocery Store Gift Cards**

Residents who have experienced a prolonged power outage and lost food will be able to collect a grocery store gift card thanks to the generous assistance of Loblaws, the Retail Council of Canada, Shopper’s Drug Mart, Metro, Sobey’s, Coppa’s Fresh Market and the provincial government. This is a provincial initiative and does not involve the City of Toronto.

For more information, please visit: http://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2013/12/ontario-helps-people-replace-food-lost-during-ice-storm.html.

December 28, 2013

 

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

Toronto Hydro is reporting that power remains out for approximately 25,000 homes.

I have spent the day advocating for the many neighbourhoods and streets that remain in the dark in Ward 25, including Hoggs Hollow, the area north of Yonge and York Mills and Don Mills.

I have done everything I can, including constant communication with senior Toronto Hydro staff, to push Toronto Hydro to direct crews to Ward 25 priorities – seven days is far, far too long to remain without heat or power.

If you are still without power and haven’t already let me know, please respond to this email and write your address in the subject line and I will do my best to advocate on your behalf.

Due to the high volume of phone calls and emails, I may not be able to respond personally but I will ensure that your address comes to Toronto Hydro’s attention.

Alternatively, you can report an outage directly to Toronto Hydro at (416) 542-8000 or online at http://www.torontohydro.com/sites/electricsystem/PowerOutages/Pages/ReportOutages.aspx.

If Toronto Hydro is reporting that your neighbourhood has power but you remain in the dark, please do the following:

  • Check to see if your neighbours have power, if they don’t, it is likely that more work is to be done on your street.
  • If your home is the only house without electricity, check your electrical panel inside the home to see if the breakers are in the “on” position.
  • Check outside to see if the electrical equipment on your home is damaged or if the service wire is “down”.  If the wire is down, please stay back and contact a licensed ECRA/ESA electrical contractor.
  • If you have completed the above and your power is still out, please report your outage to 416-542-8000.

If the electrical equipment on your home is damaged of if the service wire is down, it will need to be repaired by a licensed ESA electrical contractor before Toronto Hydro will reconnect your house.

Your electrical contractor will walk you through the process, but here it is in brief:

Once the electrician has repaired the damaged equipment, they must contact the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) to have it inspected. An ESA inspection number will then be provided to either you or the electrician.

At this point, you should contact Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000 and provide them with the ESA inspection number as well as your contact number. Your contact number is for the Toronto Hydro crews to contact you 30 minutes prior to their arrival because, for safety reasons,Toronto Hydro requires someone at the property for reconnection.

You can find a list of licensed ESA electrical contractors at http://www.esasafe.com/ (click on the “Find a Licensed Electrical Contractor in my Area link).

More information is available here: http://www.esasafe.com/consumers/safety-at-home/safety-tips-for-after-a-storm.

**Tree Related Debris**

Work to clear tree debris is underway and is expected to continue for approximately six weeks.

Tree branches that have fallen on private property and are of a manageable size that can be dragged to the City’s right-of-way (i.e., to the curb) will be picked up. Please do not place debris on the sidewalk.

Large limb or stem (body) wood from private trees that have fallen on private property should not be taken to the curb. Property owners should contact a private contractor to remove this material. City crews cannot go onto private property to clear private trees that have fallen on private property.

You do not require a permit to remove damaged or downed trees.

**Waste Pickup**

This week and next week, curbside collection on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will move forward one day. This means that Wednesday collection moves to Thursday, Thursday collection moves to Friday, and Friday collection moves to Saturday. Changes are reflected in the residential collection calendar. Due to downed trees and hydro wires, collection vehicles are not able to reach some areas. There may also be delays. Residents should leave their materials out until they are collected. If required, additional collection crews will work on Monday (not a regularly scheduled collection day).

If you have organic material (food waste) that cannot fit in the Green Bin, please set it out in a clear plastic bag. Food waste will be collected on your regularly scheduled collection day.

I’ve been advised by Solid Waste Management staff that extra tags are not required.

**Daycare**

Parents of children attending City of Toronto child care centres are asked to call ahead to ensure that the centre is open.

**Food Safety**

Residents who have been without power, or recently had their power restored, are advised to reduce the risk of a foodborne illness:

  • If you have been without power for 24 hours or longer, all food in the fridge should be thrown out.
  • During a power outage of 48 hours or longer, all food in the freezer should be thrown out.
  • Any leftover cooked food that cannot be reheated or stored in a working refrigerator or freezer should be thrown out.

More food safety tips are available at http://bitly.com/Jxt79e.

I have pasted below information from previous updates on freezing pipes and radiators and power outage tips as well as the addresses of the city’s warming centres, which remain open.

For the latest updates, please check my website (www.jayerobinson.com), Facebook (http://facebook.com/robinsonward25) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/jayerobinson).

As always, please don’t hesitate with any other questions or concerns.

Warm regards,

Jaye

The city’s 12 warming centres continue to operate. Pets are welcome. They are:

  • Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)
  • Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Finch)
  • Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)
  • Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)
  • Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)
  • Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)
  • Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)
  • Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)
  • 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)

 In addition, 13 Toronto Police Service facilitates have community rooms available as warming centres around the clock. They are:

  • Division 11 – 2054 Davenport Road (Davenport/Osler)
  • Division 12 – 200 Trethewey Drive (Trethewey/Black Creek)
  • Division 14 – 350 Dovercourt Road (College/Dovercourt)
  • Division 22 – 3699 Bloor Street West (Bloor West/Dundas West)
  • Division 23 – 5230 Finch Avenue West (Kipling/Finch)
  • Division 31 – 40 Norfinch Road (Norfinch/Finch West)
  • Division 33 – 50 Upjohn Road (York Mills/Don Mills)
  • Division 42 – 242 Milner Avenue (Milner/Markham)
  • Division 43 – 4331 Lawrence Ave. E (Lawrence Ave. E/ Kingston Road)
  • Division 51 – 51 Parliament Street (Front/Parliament)
  • Division 52 – 255 Dundas Street West (LOBBY ONLY)
  • Toronto Police Service College – 70 Birmingham Street (Birmingham/Fifth)
  • Toronto Police Service Headquarters – 40 College Street (College/Bay)

 The following are some tips for dealing with a power outage:

  • Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes
  • Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out
  • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored
  • When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro
  • Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

 After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:

  • Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights
  • Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers

 **Freezing Pipes and Radiators**

 Many residents have asked about radiators and the possibility of freezing. If your heating system is hot water and your are concerned about freezing, you can drain your hot water heating system. If you do not have the necessary know-how, you may need to contact a heating/plumbing professional for assistance.

 Similarly, if you don’t have heat in your home and the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water so that there is some movement of water in the pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing.

 If you are leaving your home, you can shut off the main service valve in your basement and open your lowers tap to drain the water out of your plumbing to prevent them from freezing.

December 26, 2013

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

Power remains out for approximately 50,000 homes, down from a peak of 300,000.

It’s been a long a difficult week for all those without power.

Unfortunately, many homes in Ward 25 remain in the dark, particularly in the northern part of the Ward, including the Bayview Avenue corridor and Hoggs Hollow. There are also many isolated pockets and houses across the entire Ward without power.

Frustration doesn’t begin to describe the feelings of many in Ward 25. I have seen amazing acts of kindness among neighbours and I encourage you to continue to assist any of your neighbours in need.

My office continues to work around the clock. I was up until 4:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve and put in 14 hours on Christmas Day, speaking with Toronto Hydro’s CEO Anthony Haines, responding to constituents and trying to help residents in any way that I can.

If you’re still without power and cannot get through to Toronto Hydro, please send me an email with your address in the subject line and I will make sure to bring it to the attention of senior Toronto Hydro staff and advocate on your behalf.

Due to the incredible number of phone calls and emails, I may not be able to respond personally, but I will be certain to forward your address to Toronto Hydro.

Alternatively, if you cannot reach Toronto Hydro at (416) 542-8000 to report an outage, you can do so online if you have access to a computer at http://www.torontohydro.com/sites/electricsystem/PowerOutages/Pages/ReportOutages.aspx.

Unfortunately, Toronto Hydro remains unable to provide any timelines for restoring service to individual houses, streets or neighbourhoods.

If Toronto Hydro is reporting that power in your neighbourhood has been restored but your home remains without power, you should:

  •  Check to see if your neighbours have power, if they don’t, it is likely that more work is to be done on your street.
  • If your home is the only house without electricity, check your electrical panel inside the home to see if the breakers are in the “on” position.
  • Check the electrical service entry outside your home to see if it is damaged or the service wire is “down”.  If the wire is down, please stay back and contact us at 416-542-8000 to report the downed wire.

Freezing Pipes and Radiators

Many residents have asked about radiators and the possibility of freezing. If your heating system is a hot water system and you’re concerned about freezing, you can drain your hot water heating system. If you do not have the necessary know-how, you may need to contact a heating/plumbing professional for assistance.

Similarly, if you don’t have heat in your home and the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water so that there is some movement of water in the pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing.

If you are leaving you home, you can shut off the main service valve in your basement and open your lowest tap to drain the water out of your plumbing to prevent them from freezing.

Debris Cleanup and Garbage Pickup

The city anticipates that the clearing of fallen trees and tree debris will begin on December 27. Cleanup will take place at a later date where debris is not obstructing the road.

I have asked about special pick-ups for storm-related debris and waste and will report back when I have more information.

In the meantime, there is no collection on New Year’s Day. This week and next week, curbside collection on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will move forward one day.

This means that Wednesday collection moves to Thursday, Thursday collection moves to Friday, and Friday collection moves to Saturday.

Changes are reflected in the residential collection calendar. Due to downed trees and hydro wires, collection vehicles are not able to reach some areas. There may also be delays. Residents should leave their materials out until they are collected. If required, additional collection crews will work on Monday (not a regularly scheduled collection day).

If you have organic material (food waste) that cannot fit in the Green Bin, please set it out in a clear plastic bag. Food waste will be collected on your regularly scheduled collection day.

I have pasted below information from my previous updates with tips about dealing with a power outage as well as food safety information.

For the latest updates, please check my Facebook (http://facebook.com/robinsonward25)and Twitter (http://twitter.com/jayerobinson).

As always, please don’t hesitate with any other questions or concerns.

Warm regards,

Jaye

The city’s 12 warming centres continue to operate. Pets are welcome. They are:

  • Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)
  • Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Finch)
  • Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)
  • Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)
  • Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)
  • Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)
  • Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)
  • Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)
  • 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)

In addition, 13 Toronto Police Service facilitates have community rooms available as warming centres around the clock. They are:

  • Division 11 – 2054 Davenport Road (Davenport/Osler)
  • Division 12 – 200 Trethewey Drive (Trethewey/Black Creek)
  • Division 14 – 350 Dovercourt Road (College/Dovercourt)
  • Division 22 – 3699 Bloor Street West (Bloor West/Dundas West)
  • Division 23 – 5230 Finch Avenue West (Kipling/Finch)
  • Division 31 – 40 Norfinch Road (Norfinch/Finch West)
  • Division 33 – 50 Upjohn Road (York Mills/Don Mills)
  • Division 42 – 242 Milner Avenue (Milner/Markham)
  • Division 43 – 4331 Lawrence Ave. E (Lawrence Ave. E/ Kingston Road)
  • Division 51 – 51 Parliament Street (Front/Parliament)
  • Division 52 – 255 Dundas Street West (LOBBY ONLY)
  • Toronto Police Service College – 70 Birmingham Street (Birmingham/Fifth)
  • Toronto Police Service Headquarters – 40 College Street (College/Bay)

The following are some tips for dealing with a power outage:

  • Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes
  • Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out
  • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored
  • When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro
  • Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:

  • Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights
  • Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers

During a power outage, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips can help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:

  • Keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours – if the door is kept closed.
  • Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4*C for more than two hours.
  •  Keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours – if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
  •  Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4*C or below – evaluate each item separately.
  • If possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period
  • Discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices
  • If you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it out.
  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin

For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/foodsafe/homefood.html

December 24, 2013

 

My office has been working around the clock through Sunday, Monday and now today responding to hundreds of emails and phone calls from residents reporting power outages, downed power lines, impassable streets, traffic light outages and other ice storm-related issues.

I have also been in constant contact with Toronto Hydro’s CEO Anthony Haines, ensuring that every issue brought to my attention is prioritized by Toronto Hydro.

Large parts of Ward 25 have been significantly impacted by the ice storm and are experiencing large and ongoing power outages, from Don Mills to Hoggs Hollow to Lawrence Park to York Mills to the Yonge-Eglinton area – in Anthony Haine’s opinion, Ward 25 was “decimated.”

I – along with a number of my staff members – have also been without power since early Sunday morning. Like you, I appreciate the impact on holiday plans as well as the frustration of living without power for more than 72 hours.

I also wrote to the Mayor yesterday morning asking him to declare a state of emergency to ensure that all available resources are brought online as quickly as possible.

Like many of you, I want to see a timeline for repairs to each and every impacted area in Ward 25.

Unfortunately, I just got off the phone with senior Toronto Hydro staff and they advised that they are unable to offer any timelines for any specific addresses or neighbourhoods.

Toronto Hydro is also advising to prepare for the worst and expects outages to continue into the weekend.

This morning, Toronto Hydro is reporting approximately 115,000 residents are without power down from 300,000 at the peak of the storm.

Power was restored to Sunnybrook Health Sciences yesterday at 5:00 p.m., freeing up crews to move north, and extra hydro crews from Manitoba, Windsor, Mississauga, Ottawa and Michigan are expected to come online today.

Currently, crews are working to restore feeders, which are the power lines that serve several hundred to several thousand customers each. This will restore power to large areas first and then crews will move on to smaller single street and single home outages.

I have forwarded each and every address and issue brought to my attention to senior Toronto Hydro staff and asked that it be prioritized.

Toronto Hydro has an up-to-date map of affected areas.

If you want to report a power outage, downed power line or other hydro-related emergency, please call Toronto Hydro’s Lights Out Line at (416) 542-8000. Please have patience as you may have difficulty getting through due to a high call volume.

Many have asked me about frozen pipes. The city is advising that if you do not have heat and the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water so there is some movement in pipes vulnerable to freezing.

If you are leaving your home because of no heat you can shut off the main service valve in your basement and open your lowest tap to drain the water out of your plumbing lines to prevent them from freezing.

The city is also working on a debris management plan to take care of downed branches. While the plan is still in the works, if you want to get started, you can bundle the sticks and branches and leave them butt side out by the curb.

I have pasted information from my previous updates below – including information about warming centre locations and power outage tips, including food safety information.

For the latest updates, please check my website Facebook  and Twitter.

For residents in need of assistance, the City has opened reception and warming centres with food, water, warmth and rest. Pets are also welcome. Please find the full list of reception centres below:

  • Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)
  • Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Finch)
  • Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)
  • Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)
  • Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)
  • Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)
  • Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)
  • Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)
  • 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)

In addition, 13 Toronto Police Service facilities have been identified as having community rooms available for use 24/7 as warming centres:

  • Division 11 – 2054 Davenport Road (Davenport/Osler)
  • Division 12 – 200 Trethewey Drive (Trethewey/Black Creek)
  • Division 14 – 350 Dovercourt Road (College/Dovercourt)
  • Division 22 – 3699 Bloor Street West (Bloor West/Dundas West)
  • Division 23 – 5230 Finch Avenue West (Kipling/Finch)
  • Division 31 – 40 Norfinch Road (Norfinch/Finch West)
  • Division 33 – 50 Upjohn Road (York Mills/Don Mills)
  • Division 42 – 242 Milner Avenue (Milner/Markham)
  • Division 51 – 51 Parliament Street (Front/Parliament)
  • Division 52 – 255 Dundas Street West (LOBBY ONLY)
  • Toronto Police Service College – 70 Birmingham Street (Birmingham/Fifth)
  • Toronto Police Service Headquarters – 40 College Street (College/Bay)

Residents are reminded to keep children and pets inside, avoid driving if possible and consider working from home. If you must go out, please exercise caution on the roads and sidewalks. Please also offer help to elderly neighbours or those who might need assistance. If you have power, please consider inviting friends and neighbours into your home to keep warm.

The following are some tips for dealing with a power outage:

  • Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes
  • Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out
  • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored
  • When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro
  • Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:

  • Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights
  • Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers
  • During a power outage, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips can help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:
  • Keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours – if the door is kept closed.
  • Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C for more than two hours.
  • Keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours – if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
  • Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4°C or below – evaluate each item separately.
  • If possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period
  • Discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices
  • If you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it out.
  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin

For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/foodsafe/homefood.html

December 23, 2013

I spoke to senior Toronto Hydro staff this morning and they advised that power has been restored to 72,500 homes but 227,560 customers remain without power this morning.

For an up-to-date map of affected areas, please visit http://www.torontohydro.com/sites/electricsystem/PowerOutages/Pages/OutageMap.aspx.

Many thanks to all those who contacted my office about power outages, downed power lines and other storm-related issues. Like many of you, my house remains without power.

I escalated each and every issue brought to my attention to senior Toronto Hydro staff and asked that it be prioritized.

Toronto Hydro crews continue to work around the clock and hope to have full service restored by Friday. Unfortunately, Toronto Hydro was unable to give me any specific time lines for affected areas in Ward 25. Crews are prioritizing public safety issues, such as downed power lines, as well as restoring power to hospitals, such as Sunnybrook, and the TTC.

If you want to report a power outage, downed power line or other hydro-related emergency, please call Toronto Hydro’s Lights Out Line at (416) 542-8000. Please have patience as you may have difficulty getting through due to a high call volume.

Transportation Services reports that approximately 100 traffic signals are not working. If traffic signals are out, treat the affected intersections as a four-way stop. Crews continue to salt collector and local roads and sidewalks.

Emergency services – Fire, EMS and Police — are operating and managing increased call volumes. EMS alone has experience a 53% surge in call volumes. Please only call 911 in an emergency for non-emergencies please call 416-808-2222. Residents who use home oxygen and have concerns can call 416-310-2222 for assistance.

The TTC has made progress restoring service with streetcar service resuming on all routes. Currently, there is no service on the Sheppard subway line or on the Bloor Danforth subway line from Woodbine to Kennedy or on the Scarborough RT as a result of hydro issues and storm clean up. Shuttle buses are running. Please check www.ttc.ca for updates and service alerts.

The City has nine Reception Centres where residents in need of assistance can get food, water, warmth and rest. Pets are also welcome. Please find the full list of reception centres below:

  • Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)
  • Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Finch)
  • Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)
  • Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)
  • Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)
  • Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)
  • Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)
  • Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)
  • 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)

Community centres with power will be open as usual and those without power will be closed. Similarly, Toronto Public Library branches with power will be open and those without will not.

In Ward 25, Northern District and Locke Library are open today, but Don Mills is not. For a full list of open and closed branches, please visit http://torontopubliclibrary.typepad.com/news_releases/2013/12/library-closures.html.

Residents are reminded to keep children and pets inside, avoid driving if possible and consider working from home. If you must go out, please exercise caution on the roads and sidewalks. Please also offer help to elderly neighbours or those who might need assistance. If you have power, please consider inviting friends and neighbours into your home to keep warm.

The following are some tips for dealing with a power outage:

  • Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes
  • Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out
  • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored
  • When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro
  • Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:

  • Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights
  • Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers

During a power outage, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips can help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:

  • Keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours – if the door is kept closed.
  • Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C for more than two hours.
  • Keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours – if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
  • Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4°C or below – evaluate each item separately.
  • If possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period
  • Discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices
  • If you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it out.
  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin

For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/foodsafe/homefood.html

A number of residents have also contacted my office about tree branches. I just spoke to the Director of Urban Forestry and he advised that a debris management plan is in the works and should be communicated shortly.

For the latest updates, please check my Facebook and Twitter.

As always, please don’t hesitate with any other questions or concerns.

Best regards,
Jaye

December 22, 2013

 

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

An ice storm with freezing rain and strong winds hit Toronto and the GTA last night. As a result, many trees as well as hydro wires are down and Toronto Hydro is reporting approximately 250,000 customers are without power.

I have been speaking to Toronto Hydro representatives throughout the day and while most of Ward 25 still has power, there are many pockets throughout the ward without power. My street is unfortunately one of the few without power due to a downed power line!

Given the amount of ice on the wires and that winds expected to pick up this afternoon, Toronto Hydro is warning that outages could get worse and are asking residents to prepare for a lengthy outage.

Please stay away from downed wires and trees that might have an electrical charge. To report a power outage or downed wires, please call Toronto Hydro’s operation centre at 416-542-8000.

Toronto Hydro Crews are working 24/7 to restore power as quickly as possible. I have also been advised that Transportation Services is out in full force salting the roads.

The City’s emergency services — Fire, EMS and Police — are operating as usual. The TTC has suspended all streetcar service. Subways and surface routs are operational, but the TTC is advising residents to expect delays due to the weather conditions.

For the most up-to-date information about TTC service, please visit the TTC’s Service Alerts page at http://bit.ly/16mIJBe.

To contact the police, you should call 911 for emergencies and (416) 808-2222 for non-emergencies.

Residents are asked to stay indoors and avoid driving if possible. If it is necessary to drive, please drive slowly and carefully and keep your tank half full at all times.

Please also check on your neighbours, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable and offer help to those who might need it.

For any other storm-related problems, please call 311 or email 311@toronto.ca, available 24 hours-a-day and seven days-a week.

311 has advised the phones are working and extra staff are on shift to help. They are asking residents to be patient as they are experiencing a high call volume leading to long waits.

For the latest update, please check my Facebook and Twitter.

As always, please don’t hesitate with any other questions or concerns.

Warm regards,
Jaye