Emergency Preparedness for Storms, Hurricanes
Nova Scotians are reminded once again to be prepared to look after themselves and their families for the first 72 hours in an emergency.
"We're still in the Atlantic hurricane season," said Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, Minister of Emergency Management. "There are very basic steps each of us can take to ensure the safety of our families and to protect our property. Having the right supplies in advance and a workable plan will help avoid last-minute panic and confusion, and will also allow first responders to provide emergency services to those most in need."
Officially, hurricane season runs from June to the end of November, but experience has shown that the months of September and October are the peak period in Nova Scotia.
You should prepare for a hurricane like any other emergency. Choose a shelter area for you and your family. A basement, storm cellar or closet beneath the stairs can provide good shelter in a severe storm. If none of these areas are available, sit underneath a sturdy piece of furniture on the ground floor and away from outside walls and windows.
Reduce unnecessary worry by choosing a meeting place for you and your family so you can find one another. Another alternative is to set up some form of communication to notify each other of whereabouts and safety. Do not rely on the telephone. Phones should be reserved for emergency calls during such times.
Maintain an emergency supply kit including:
- A first-aid kit, complete with a week's supply of essential medication.
- Canned food and manual can opener.
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries.
- Cash (ATM machines may be down).
- Drinkable water (three litres per person per day).
Secure your home and property:
- Pull boats out of water to high ground.
- Park vehicles in a garage or away from trees.
- Fill vehicle's gas tank.
- Secure all gates, doors and windows.
- Move lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything that can be picked up by wind.
- Trim dead or diseased branches from trees to help make them more wind resistant, or remove dead trees entirely. Safety should always be your first priority when trimming trees. Ensure that you are not working near a power line.
- Make sure your home is protected as much as possible from heavy rain and flooding.
- Keep pets indoors.
In the event of an evacuation:
- Turn off source of heat and water, if instructed to do so, and ensure that the home is securely locked.
- Choose a motel or a friend's or family's home in another area, or go to a specified evacuation centre.
- Register at the evacuation centre to maintain contact with local family or loved ones.
- Contact your out-of-town relatives to let them know your whereabouts.
- Plan for alternative travel routes in the event of flooding or blocked roads.
- For the safety of all involved, be sure to follow evacuation instructions closely.
- Take all critical documents, prescriptions, maps, clothing, bottled water and food and sleeping bags.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
For more information, visit www.gov.ns.ca/emo .
FOR BROADCAST USE:
Nova Scotians are reminded that September and October are the most likely months for tropical storms or hurricanes in this region.
Emergency Management Minister Carolyn Bolivar-Getson says having family emergency kits with the right supplies is key to being as prepared as possible.
The kits should have water, canned food, flashlight, battery-powered radio, cash and other items you might need in the first 72 hours in an emergency.
The Emergency Management Office website, at W-W-W dot gov dot N-S dot C-A slash E-M-O, has more information on hurricanes and checklists for family emergency kits.