Storm preparedness begins at home
SAINT JOHN (GNB) – Storm Preparedness Week, Nov. 3-9, is an opportunity to remind New Brunswickers of the need to be ready in case of an emergency.
The week is being recognized by the provincial government and its New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NBEMO) along with partners like NB Power, Saint John Energy and the Canadian Red Cross.
“We cannot control how much snow will fall or how high a river will rise,” said Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart. “What we can control is how informed people are to prepare for and deal with severe weather events. It can never be emphasized enough: preparedness begins at home. Happily, we are seeing that people are taking steps to ensure they, their families, and their communities are ready.”
There are three important components to emergency preparedness:
- Know the risks: New Brunswickers should evaluate the kind of emergency that can affect their family and their community. Knowing the risks can help them better prepare for any disaster: storms, flooding, train derailments, power outages or other events.
- Make a plan: Every household needs an emergency plan. It will help families to know what to do in case of an emergency and it takes less than 30 minutes to organize. Family members should take the time to discuss how and where to meet, how to contact each another and what to do in different situations. Write it down and keep it in a safe place.
- Get an emergency kit: New Brunswickers should have all the necessities for themselves and their families for at least 72 hours: water, food, flashlights, radio, batteries, first aid kit, prescription medications, infant formula, cash (ATM machines might not be operational in times of crisis).
“We have seen a number of major weather events this year: snowstorms, a hurricane and flooding,” said NBEMO director Greg MacCallum. “One of the lessons from these events is the need to be prepared all year.”
Gaëtan Thomas, president and CEO of NB Power, said his colleagues are pleased to partner with NBEMO and other agencies this year on the storm preparedness project.
“As is the case here at NB Power, teamwork is crucial in order for us to realize success,” Thomas said. “With our partners at NBEMO, at the Canadian Red Cross, and with our municipal utilities, we will be able to work together to remind New Brunswickers about how important it is to be prepared for any situation that can arise during these weather events. More than anything we want all New Brunswickers to be safe, and that is what this campaign is all about.”
NBEMO reminds New Brunswickers that when a storm causes power interruptions, depending on the severity, it can take time for utilities across the province to reconnect customers.
“Often it is not the storm itself that poses the most risk to safety but how it is handled,” says Ray Robinson, president and CEO of Saint John Energy. “It is up to us to restore power as safely and as quickly as possible and repair damages. In severe situations, we do ask for patience and that residents take the necessary steps to be prepared. If everyone does their part, it will have impact on a positive outcome.”
A 72-Hour Guide is available online. It contains useful information for families to prepare an emergency kit and to make a family emergency plan.
The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization co-ordinates preparedness for emergencies. It also co-ordinates provincial response operations during emergencies and administers disaster financial assistance programs during recovery. It works at provincial, regional and municipal levels to ensure that communities are protected during all phases of an emergency.
Geoffrey Downey, communications, Department of Public Safety, 506-453-2039, firstname.lastname@example.org.