Community Fire Prevention

As with wildfires, blackout risk can be reduced by the management of foliage. When there are strong winds or violent storms, a tree or branch that falls onto system elements can cause a power outage that sometimes affects many customers. Since the most violent storms occur between June and August, it’s not surprising that most power outages happen during the summer. In winter, heavy snow often bends branches or trees to the point that they fall onto power lines, causing outages.

Hydro One and Ottawa Hydro forestry inspectors monitor and gather data about trees near overhead power lines and they will trim those that are directly in contact with a power line or near a power line. Reporting trees that may be a risk to the power lines is all of our responsibility. 

Why the blackout of 2003 happened.

Call 911 when you feel the situation threatens public security or someone’s personal safety. The appropriate authorities and Hydro-Québec will be notified at the same time and assistance will be dispatched.

These are the most frequent situations in which it is best to call 911:

  • Broken power lines

  • Power lines within reaching distance

  • Transformer or pole on fire

  • Traffic accident


West Carleton is surrounded by beautiful nature and forests. Our forests are habitat for many species both at risk and common. We are very fortunate to be so close to nature, but with such closeness comes risk. Our powerlines are surrounded by trees. We as community members have a role to play in safeguarding and protecting those areas and our homes from possible destruction.


The West Carleton region has historically been vulnerable to large forest fire destruction. The Fire of 1955 destroyed much of the area and changed the communities forever. With increased population and climate change, the risk that history could repeat itself is real. In the country, brush fires are very common especially in the spring and can become unmanageable very quickly. Wildfire embers can travel several kilometres. Even backyard campfires can become potential for widespread fire into the surrounding wild area like the Carp Hills. These fires have the potential to take lives, destroy property and kill wildlife.

Extreme wildfire conditions and loss of life and property are increasing. Residents play a key role in reducing the risks of both igniting and spreading of wildfires. There are steps that homeowners can take to plan ahead for emergencies and to prepare their homes to withstand ember attacks and minimize the likelihood of flames or embers igniting structures or property.


WCDR has worked with Fire Smart Ontario and our local Fire Chief to provide this information for West Carleton Residents in order to increase the level of our preparedness. We also thank the Canadian Red Cross for funding the printing and distribution of our brochure.


Speak with your family about what you'll do if a wildfire threatens your life and your home. Download Fire Smart Canada’s Fire Smart Begins at Home manual or app to do a complete self-assessment of your home. That way if a fire comes you'll have a plan which will help you take action and avoid making last-minute decisions that could prove deadly.

Knowing when to leave, where to go and which way to go could save your life.

Let's be fire smart and let's work together to reduce the risk.



  • Look before lean, cut or climb

    • Make sure that neither you nor your equipment will be at risk of coming in contact with powerline or electrical infrastructure

  • Call Before You Dig

    • Contact Ontario One Call before you dig. 


  • Download Fire Smart Canada’s Fire Smart Begins at Home Manual and App to do a complete self-assessment of your home.

  • During the forest fire season (April to October) post your plan on the fridge.

  • Share your plan with your neighbours. As access roads may become closed, they may need to help your family if you are at work and cannot reach your home in time.

  • Compete our  Household Disaster Plan & Evacuation Kit and prepare items in the Kit.

  • Evacuation is often unnecessary the Red Cross recommends that you keep an ​​Emergency Supply Kit in your home with enough supplies to meet your family’s needs for a least 72 hours.


  • You can install a non-electric standby stove or heater. Choose heating units that are not dependent on an electric motor, electric fan, or some other electric device to function. It is important to adequately vent the stove or heater with the type of chimney flue specified for it. Never connect two heating units to the same chimney flue at the same time.

  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned every fall in preparation for use and to eliminate creosote build-up which could ignite and cause a chimney fire.

  • If the standby heating unit will use the normal house oil or gas supply, have it connected with shut-off valves by a certified tradesperson.

  • Before considering the use of an emergency generator during a power outage, check with furnace, appliance and lighting fixture dealers or manufacturers regarding power requirements and proper operating procedures.






  • Fires, including wildfires, are generally covered under property insurance policies but it is always best to check that your insurance is up to date and fits your needs. Important items to consider are:

    • ​Do you have replacement cost or actual cash value insurance? Most home policies cover replacement cost and secondary dealings, such as cottages, generally only cover cash value. While both types of coverage help with the costs of rebuilding your home or replacing damaged items after a covered loss, actual cash value policies are based on the items' depreciated value while replacement cost coverage does not account for depreciation.

    • Also find out if you have by-law coverage, if you do not have adequate by-law coverage cost associated with bring your home to today's code may not be fully paid. 

  • Go to to find more information.





  • Back your vehicle ready to go in the driveway.​

  • Put your emergency supplies in the car.

  • Check your evacuation list to ensure you have everything packed.


  • Follow the directions provided by the authorities. 

  • Follow local news media. 

  • Call a designated relative or friend, so they can tell loved
    ones that you are safe.


  • Stay off the phone as much as possible to help the emergency services.

  • Keep your emergency call to designated relatives sort and to the point.

  • Cellular services can be easily overwhelmed during emergencies due to the volume of calls.


  • Stand by to evacuate and remember: DON'T TAKE UNNECESSARY RISKS.

  • If you see smoke or flames, act immediately to survive. Don't wait for a text message, a knock at the door or for emergency services to turn up at your house.



  • Property can be replaced but human lives cannot.

  • If you need to evacuate meet at a safe location well away from the fire.

In Case of Emergency:


If your controlled fire becomes out of control, take immediate action:

  • For backyard campfire if possible and not dangerous use your prepositioned garden hose to extinguish or reduce the spread. Call 911 and provide the location, tell them if people or structures are in danger.

  • For out of control brush fires call 911 immediately, time is of the essence. Brush fires can spread rapidly and become out of control very quickly. The potential for widespread destruction is greater especially during dry and windy conditions.

  • In the event that your fire becomes out of control take evasive action, and follow the fire department and City evacuation plan.

  • Remember, do not take unnecessary risks, your life is important. Property can be replaced but lives can't.


If you see any smoke or flames, act immediately to survive. Don't wait for a text message, a knock at the door or for emergency services to turn up at your house.

During A Power Outage

  • First, check whether the power outage is limited to your home. If your neighbours' power is still on, check your own circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If the problem is not a breaker or a fuse, check the service wires leading to the house. If they are obviously damaged or on the ground, stay at least 10 meters back and notify your electric supply authority. Keep the number along with other emergency numbers near your telephone.

  • If your neighbours' power is also out, notify your electric supply authority.

  • Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment, and turn the thermostat(s) for the home heating system down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored. Also, power can be restored more easily when there is not a heavy load on the electrical system.

  • Turn off all lights, except one inside and one outside, so that both you and hydro crews outside know that power has been restored.

  • Don't open your freezer or fridge unless it is absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door remains closed.

  • Never use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment, or home generators indoors. They give off carbon monoxide. Because you can't smell or see it, carbon monoxide can cause health problems and is life-threatening.

  • Use proper candle holders. Never leave lit candles unattended and keep out of reach of children. Always extinguish candles before going to bed.

  • Listen to your battery-powered or crank radio for information on the outage and advice from authorities.

  • Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector. If it is hard-wired to the house's electrical supply, ensure it has a battery-powered back-up.

  • Protect sensitive electrical appliances such as TVs, computer, and DVD players with a surge-protecting powerbar.



  • Only enter your house once authorities say it is safe to do so.

  • Do not attempt to recover belongings if the area is not secure.


  • If there are any residual burning embers, and/or if you smell gas or smoke, leave immediately and inform the fire department.​


  • Appliances that have been exposed to fire or water pose a risk of shock or fire when turned on. Do not use any appliances, heating, pressure, or sewage system until electrical components have been thoroughly cleaned, dried, and inspected by a qualified individual.


  • Verify that your sump pump and well are in working condition.


  • Take a visual inventory of damage both outside and inside.

  • First, walk the perimeter of your property to check if there has been damage to the foundation, the roof or any utility lines.

  • When you enter, look at the floors and ceiling to ensure they are not drooping.

  • Document details of any damage. 

  • Contact your insurance provider to share this information.


Use extreme caution when returning home​

There are many hazards present after a wildfire.


During and after a disaster such as a wildfire WDCR and their partners will be here to help. Registration for both with WCDR and Red Cross will open during a disaster event for those who are in affected areas. 

© 2018 West Carleton Disaster Relief 


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