During an emergency

During an emergency, you may not have time to make alternative plans. You may also not be aware of who to listen to for instructions. That’s why it is important to know who to call and what to do under different circumstances.

Who to contact

  • flood or fallen tree: 519-837-5628 (after hours 1-866-630-9242)
  • power outage: 519-822-3010
  • downed power lines: 911

Non-emergency calls

  • City of Guelph programs and services 519-822-1260
  • Ontario 211 for 24 hour multilingual information and referall service 211

Keep up to date

What to do during a power outage

  • Treat all intersections as four-way stops. Give right-of-way to vehicles on your right
  • Avoid running water or flushing the toilet – using water uses power
  • Keep refrigerator closed. Most frozen and refrigerated food will keep for up to twenty-four hours.
  • Using a battery powered/hand crank radio, listen to Magic FM 106.1 or CJOY AM 1460 for updates.
  • Leave one light on so that you know when the power is restored.
  • Help reduce initial demand upon power restoration, turn off major appliances that were operating before the outage, and resume operation over a twenty minute period.

What to do if you see downed power lines

  • Call 911
  • Stay clear! Stay at least 10 metres (33 feet) away from a downed power line or anything that is in contact with the wire and warn others of the danger.
  • Always assume a downed power line is live. Energized lines do not necessarily spark or dance.
  • Don’t drive over downed power lines. Even if not energized, they can become entangled in your vehicle.
  • Secure the area – warn others of the danger, but do not attempt to remove objects (tree limbs etc.) touching a power line.
  • If a power line falls on your car, stay in your car Warn others to stay back 10 metres (33 feet) and call 911.
  • Take care when cleaning up – Make sure no power lines are near before cutting or trimming damaged trees and removing debris from your property.

Where to go

Shelter in place

In an emergency situation, you may be required to stay indoors. In-place sheltering may be short-term, such as going to a safe room for a short period of time while a tornado warning is in effect. It may also be longer term, such as when you stay in your home for several days, sometimes without electricity or water services following a severe storm, or after a hazardous material release.

The steps to prepare in-place sheltering will vary depending on the particular emergency situation. Specific shelter-in-place details are provided in the section: How to prepare for specific emergencies, which identifies the various emergencies that could occur in Guelph.

Emergency Shelters

Emergency shelters may be set up in locations such as schools, municipal buildings and community centres. When you arrive at the emergency shelter, sign in at the registration desk so you can be accounted for and reunited with your family.

What to expect

  • Food (cafeteria style) and water
  • Bedding (cots, blankets, or mats)
  • Washroom facilities
  • Basic medical needs / first aid
  • Privacy is limited as families live, eat and sleep together (typically in one area)
  • Pets are not allowed. Arrangements for their care may be made.
  • Families are generally expected to look after themselves (e.g. organized baby-sitting is not usually provided)
  • Community briefings and information updates will be provided by emergency officials
  • Community members with similar experiences, concerns and situations have a chance to talk to each other
  • Counselling services may be available


In the event of a community disaster, local authorities may advise you to evacuate your home. An evacuation order may come with little warning, so it is important to include evacuation plans as part of your emergency preparedness plan.

If an evacuation is necessary, local authorities will notify you directly through local and social media. Stay tuned to local radio (CJOY 1460 AM or Magic 106.1 FM), television, Facebook and Twitter for information on evacuation routes, emergency shelters and procedures.

Safety tip

It is important to stay calm, listen carefully and follow all instructions.

Before you leave

If you are ordered to evacuate, take:

  • your emergency kit
  • your emergency plan
  • essential medications and copies of prescriptions
  • a cellular phone (if you have one)
  • your pets

Remember: Pets are not allowed in emergency shelters, so plan in advance for a pet-friendly location.

Protect your home

  • Shut off water and electricity if officials tell you to
  • Leave natural gas service on, unless officials tell you to turn it off. If the gas company advises you to turn off your gas meter, or the supply of gas is interrupted, the gas company or an authorized technician must turn it back on. Please do not attempt to re-activate your gas meter.
  • Lock your home

If you have time

  • Call or e-mail your out-of-area contact. Tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. Once you are safe, let them know. Tell them if any family members have become separated.
  • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going

Safety tip

Only use your phone in life-threatening emergencies. Telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations. Keep the lines free for emergency calls to get through.

Evacuating your home

  • If possible, try to seek shelter with friends or relatives outside of the affected area. If it is not possible, emergency shelters can be set up in locations in the community. When you are advised to evacuate, you will also be informed of assembly locations for transportation and the location of the nearest emergency shelter.
  • Follow the routes specified by emergency officials. Don’t take short cuts on the way to the shelter, they may be blocked or expose you to dangerous hazards.
  • Keep in mind that evacuation procedures may take longer when children, elderly adults or persons with disabilities or medical illness are involved. Evacuation may be required sooner in order to meet these needs.

Driving in emergency conditions

  • Keep the radio tuned to CJOY 1460 AM or Magic 106.1 FM to receive important information
  • Follow the routes specified by officials. Don’t use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable or dangerous.
  • Stay away from downed power lines

Always pull to the right and stop for emergency vehicles when you hear their siren and see their flashing lights

When the traffic signals are not working, the intersection becomes a four-way stop

  • The first vehicle to arrive and stop has the right-of-way
  • If two or more vehicles stop the same time, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way