Power outages in Cottage Country occur more frequently – and last longer – than in the city. And being at a cottage during a power outage means a whole different set of operating instructions too!

When a power failure occurs, the first thing to do is check to see if it’s just your cottage, localized or wide spread. Most cottages have the hydro emergency number posted and if not, you can call information for the number or go to the “Hydro One” web site if you have internet access.

When there’s no power there are a couple of really important things to be aware of at a cottage:

First – there is no power to run the pump that brings water into the cottage. Don’t run the taps! You may drain the water lines and that may require re-priming the pump. It could also damage the pump once the power comes back on.

Second – many cottages now have pumps that either move the septic effluent to a holding tank or septic bed. If the cottage you are at has a septic pump you cannot use the toilets. Doing so will cause a very messy overflow situation that you do NOT want to encounter.

If the cottage septic system does not operate with a pump (check your Cottage Instructions) you can refill the back of the tank on the toilet with a bucket of water from the lake and flush the toilet.

If it’s not a lengthy outage, most people can cope until the power’s back on. The barbecue can be used for cooking. A trip to the nearest store for some bottled water and ice might be in order as well.

While most cottages have some emergency equipment like flashlights, candles, matches etc., it’s a good idea to bring few of your own as well.

If the power outage is going to be extensive – some cottages are now equipped with generators. Check the Cottage Instructions for details and who to contact to get the equipment set up and to find out what appliances it will power.

We’ve been through quite a few major power outages in the twenty six years that Cottage Country Travel has been operating, and we are always delighted and amazed at how most people cope and react during these “emergencies’. Many report having the best vacation ever because they had to “simplify’ – no television, lap tops, phones. They played board games, read books, explored the outdoors and generally reconnected with both their family and the environment. While we hope your vacation is not interrupted with a power outage, if it is, please keep these “operating instructions’ in mind. And enjoy the moment – even if it’s not what you expected. It might be just the best vacation ever!