During an Emergency

Learn how you can stay informed during an emergency, as well as the difference between sheltering in place and evacuating.

 Be Informed
There are two main ways that you can be informed about emergencies: sign up for Ontario’s Emergency Alerts, and learn more about the hazards you can face and how you can be prepared for them.
During an emergency in Brantford, check the City’s website, Facebook and Twitter for regular updates, and stay tuned to local news channels. Be sure to have a portable, battery-operated or crank radio in your survival kit in case of power outages.
 The City's Role
When a large-scale emergency occurs in the City, Brantford will activate its Emergency Response Plan. The plan details the methods in which the City mobilizes its resources during a crisis. It ensures all City organizations, emergency response services, and key agencies are fully aware of their respective roles and responsibilities.
It is important for families, individuals, businesses and property owners to have their own emergency response plan to help them respond and recover from the emergency. 
 Sheltering or Evacuating
During an emergency, you may be asked to stay inside (shelter in place) or evacuate. In the event of an emergency, officials will advise you on whether you should stay inside or leave.

Sheltering in Place

If you are asked to shelter in place, there are ways you can protect your family and your property. You should have:

  • Your emergency kit and non-perishable food ready and on hand
  • A personal alarm or whistle that emits a loud noise that will draw attention to your whereabouts if you need help
  • A white cloth to hang up in a window and/or a balcony to identify your location if you need to signal for help
  • Ink marker to write messages on doors, windows or a cloth – if you need to signal for help
  • Aluminum foil to cover vent openings

It is important that you stay in shelter until local authorities say it is safe to leave.


If you must evacuate your home:

  • Follow the directions of emergency personnel.
  • Let someone know that you’ve left and where you can be found.
  • Turn off your lights and appliances (except your refrigerator and freezer).
  • Turn off or reduce your heat or air conditioning.
  • Lock your doors.

What to Bring

Remember to bring the following with you if it is safe to do so:

  • Cell phone, laptop, tablet, chargers and battery banks
  • Clothing and toiletries for each family member
  • Formula, bottles, diapers, favourite books, games and toys for infants and children

Do Not Leave Your Pets or Service Animals Behind

  • Pets may become lost and/or not survive on their own.
  • Bring food and water, medications, favourite toys, identification tags and licenses for your pets.
  • Bring your leash/harness and pet carrier.
Power Failures and Utility Disruptions
Power failures and utility disruptions can be caused by failures in the system or external events, such as severe weather. A power outage may last from a few minutes to a few days. Prolonged power outages in extreme hot or cold weather may put your health and safety at risk.

Conveniences we regularly enjoy, such as elevators and running water, may be affected during a power outage. Brantford Power will work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Your patience is needed and appreciated while these complex issues are resolved.

During an Outage

  • Unplug all appliances (space heaters, toaster ovens, griddles, etc.) that may have been left on at the time of the outage and could ignite when they come back on.
  • Unplug computers, televisions, stereos and other electronics to prevent damage caused by power surges. (Use surge protecting power bars where possible.)
  • Turn off stove cook top and oven.
  • Turn off the water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they were in use when the power went out, if possible.
  • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored.
  • Never use barbecues, propane or kerosene heaters, or portable generators indoors.
  • Never leave candles unattended.

During an extended power outage, your building’s property management staff or community organizations might visit you at home to make sure you are safe.

 Food Safety
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 (if possible) to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep food cool for four to six hours – if the door is kept closed.
  • Keep a fridge thermometer in your refrigerator so that you know when the temperature goes above 4°C.
  • 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.
  • Partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food, but food will remain safe to eat.
  • 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.
The City of Brantford appreciates the support of residents willing to assist during an emergency.

In order to best serve community needs and ensure those volunteering are safe, trained and able to help in a meaningful way, the City recommends potential volunteers sign up ahead of time with an accredited volunteer agency that can provide proper training, screening and support.

Getting involved with a volunteer agency before an emergency occurs will improve your ability to help during a crisis or when help is needed.