January 23, 2018; Liverpool, NS: Whether it’s snow or ice storms in the winter, flooding, hurricanes, forest fires, drought or other situations, it is wise to be prepared. Region of Queens Emergency Management Office (EMO) Coordinator, Brian Hatt urges residents to have a plan and an emergency kit on hand.
“An emergency kit is especially important to have in place as we enter the winter storm season, and there should be one in place year round. EMO recommends that when residents learn of approaching storm systems, they prepare to shelter in their location for up to 72 hours. This means that in advance of a storm system, they should have enough food, water, and a heat source to ensure that they can stay where they are for up to 72 hours, or until it is safe to relocate,” said Hatt.
A basic emergency kit should be portable, in the event that it is not safe to remain at home, and should contain a three day supply of non-perishable food and water for all residents of the home (2lts. water per person per day); first aid kit; whistle; local maps; sanitation items (towelettes, toilet paper, etc.); change of clothing for everyone; pet food; emergency documents (passport, birth certificates, deeds, insurance); medical supplies; emergency lighting such as flashlights with spare batteries, matches/lighter; blankets and warm clothing; and a battery-powered radio with spare batteries. Consider having a version of an emergency kit in the family car in the event you are involved in an emergency on the highway. Residents considering the purchase and usage of an outside portable generator should consult with a qualified electrician, to verify its proper usage and service ability during a power outage, prior to making a purchase.
Prior to and during the recent storm on Boxing Day, which was followed days later by another storm, there were questions from the public regarding when comfort stations would open and the locations of them. Hatt advised that the Region of Queens Municipality’s EMO has several comfort stations in various locations throughout Queens with signed agreements in place that will be opened as required. These premises will open when the Region of Queens Municipality and EMO determine it is required. Not all comfort stations will open; one or more may open as the situation warrants. The opening and location of the comfort center will be determined by the type and location of the emergency.
“Comfort stations are not always open during storms,” said Hatt. “If there is a winter storm or other emergency at any time of the year, plan to be self sufficient for 72 hours, and listen to the radio to hear if the conditions or situation has warranted the opening and location of a comfort center. If the home is safe, that is the best place to be. We do not want residents travelling in conditions that are unsafe, to comfort stations that have not yet been opened and are therefore unmanned. We have a number of means of advising the public when a comfort station opens, and will use those means at the appropriate times. Of course, if a resident has an emergency, or feels they are in a situation that is unsafe, they should call 911.” Residents of Queens may also contact Brian Hatt at 902-350-1413 if they require further information regarding the comfort centers, but their initial call should be to 911 if there is an emergency situation at their location.
Hatt noted that reporting situational changes will help determine the need to open a comfort center in a community, and that during the Boxing Day storm, there were no reports received from residents. He added that comfort centers are intended to be a short term solution while residents figure out a solution for their situation, such as relocating to a friend or family member’s home that may have heat or may still have power. During a winter storm, strong winds, heavy rainfall or flooding situation, motorists are advised to stay off the roads. In the event of essential travel, motorists are urged to use caution and stay safe.
Residents will be updated as a potential emergency situation develops, and advised of situational status. Among the methods utilized to communicate with the public regarding the status of a winter storm, or other situations at other times of year, are messages and updates to local media, including the local radio stations (CKBW - 94.5 FM, Hank FM – 100.7, and QCCR – 99.3 FM); posts on the Region of Queens Municipality’s website (http://www.regionofqueens.com); the Region of Queens Municipality Facebook page (htpp://www.facebook.com/RegionofQueens); and the Region of Queens Twitter page (https://www.twitter.com/RegionofQueens ). During severe emergencies, door to door notification may also be utilized.
For information on being prepared for emergencies, as well as information on current and developing situations in Queens County, please check the Region of Queens Municipality’s website under the Emergency Measures tab: http://www.regionofqueens.com/emergency-measures/overview .