Tree on blue car

Twitter user @witch_kat sent in this shot from Sunday morning. (@witch_kat)

As power is restored from the weekend's ice storm, here's what you need to know in the aftermath of the storm.

All information has been taken from the City of Kitchener and the Region of Waterloo official websites and compiled below.

AIRPORT

The Region of Waterloo international airport is open but check the website for latest flight information. http://www.waterlooairport.ca/en/flightinformation/arrivalsdepartures.asp

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

  • Get extra batteries.
  • Check to make sure flashlights and battery-powered radios are working.
  • Make sure you know how to manually open an electric garage door if needed.
  • Dress in warm layers, with hats, mittens instead of gloves and a water-repellent outer layer.
  • Unplug sensitive electronic equipment like computers and TVs when the power goes out to avoid damage. from potential voltage irregularities when the power is turned back on.
  • Make sure you have cash on hand and paper copies of important documents if needed.
  • Be careful checking for damage after a storm. Live wires may be hidden by snow or debris. If a wire is down, assume it is live and don't touch it or anything the wire is touching. Call the utility company to report a downed line. 
  • Park vehicles in safe areas, preferably away from trees.
  • Alternate heating sources should be avoided indoors but if they are used, they must be ventilated properly.

Numbers for utility companies: 

  • Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro: (519) 745-4771
  • Cambridge-North Dumfries: (519) 621-3530
  • Waterloo North Hydro: (519) 579-9557

FOOD

  • Food in a refrigerator without power will stay cold for 4-6 hours.
  • Food in a full chest or upright freezer will stay frozen for up to 2 days, or 1 day if the freezer is half-full. 
  • Avoid opening fridge or freezer doors to check on food. However, adding ice can keep the freezer and fridge cool.
  • Frozen food that has reached room temperature for more than two hours should be thrown out.
  • Any food with strange colours or smells should be thrown out. 
  • Above all, if there's any doubt about the safety of food, throw it out. 

TRANSIT

Grand River Transit is operating on a holiday schedule Monday, though some routes are affected by downed trees. More information available on the Grand River Transit website. 

TREES

Fallen trees on private property are the responsibility of the homeowner to clean up, according to the City of Kitchener. However, the Region of Waterloo is scheduled to make a decision late Monday about what kind of help it can provide to homeowners with downed trees.  

"There's also a significant number of customers that have to make repairs to their own electrical equipment--the meter bases on the houses have been torn down by tree limbs that have come down," said Jerry Van Ooteghe, the president of Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro.

"Those repairs need to be made by home owners and we can't reconnect them until those repairs are done." In those situations, homeowners will need to contact a contractor to help with repairs or an arborist to remove downed trees.  

For homeowners who are unsure whether a tree is city property or want to report fallen trees and branches can call the following numbers: 

  • Cambridge: (519) 740-4681, Ext. 4017
  • Kitchener: (519) 741-2345
  • Waterloo: (519) 886-2310

The Region of Waterloo can collect tree waste from homeowners, as long as the waste meets the following conditions set out by the region:

  • must be under 92 centimetres (3 feet) in length, and less than 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) in diameter.
  • must be bundled and tied with twine and weigh less than 23 kilograms (50 pounds).
  • may also be placed out in kraft paper bags or a garbage can with a Region Yard Waste sticker or brightly coloured ribbon identifying it as yard waste.  Branches in plastic bags will not be collected.
  • must be out by 7 a.m. on the regular collection day.

Tree debris that doesn't meet the criteria listed above can't be collected by the region. Tree debris can also be brought to the Cambridge transfer station (201 Savage Drive) or Waterloo transfer station (925 Erb Street West, Gate 2).

More information on collection can be found at www.regionofwaterloo.ca/waste or by calling the region's customer service line at 519-883-5100.  

WATER

The City of Kitchener recommends letting faucets drip a bit to avoid freezing water lines. The city also recommends knowing how to turn off water valves if needed.

For homeowners with well-water pump systems or other systems that could be vulnerable to power outages, the city recommends filling spare containers and the bathtub with water. Water in the bathtub should not be used for drinking water, just sanitation purposes. 

WASTE

According to the Region, garbage collection is proceeding Monday but may be limited in some areas due to downed trees. Garbage and recycling containers should be placed in front of snowbanks on road level.

Bundled branches will be picked up Monday, and as part of the Christmas tree recycling program from Dec. 30 to Jan. 10. The region's waste transfer stations will waive the tipping fee for people bringing in bundled tree branches and debris from their properties until Jan. 11.