For those of us with a wood-burning stove there is a little bit of solace in the fact that you won’t be freezing, but for many people they were left out (rather inside) in the cold. It’s amazing how little consumable food there is in a home when you don’t have power to cook it with, or the juice to power an electric can opener. First on the post-power outage checklist — manual can opener.
There were 10,000 people without power this past Friday. That’s 10,000 people wondering if they should drink all the milk before it spoils, or put it outside to keep chilled and conserve until a convenience store reopens. How the coffee drinkers got through most of last Friday is beyond us here at The Pilot? That seemed to be one of the major concerns — when were people going to be able to get their coffee fix.
But seriously, a power outage such as this should give us reason to pause and take stock of our emergency preparations. Are yours adequate? Many of us probably found that ours are not as lengthy power outage threw many of us for a loop.
What if the wind had been accompanied by rain? It wouldn’t have been a pretty picture. If Hurricane Igor has taught us anything, it’s that Mother Nature is unpredictable and vicious when she wants to be. For that reason we need to follow the Girl Guide motto and Be Prepared.
You can search out many websites to help you plan for any type of event/emergency situation, such as a power outage. One site you could look to is http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/knw/ris/pwr-eng.aspx. It contains information on what you can do before, during and after a power outage situation.
Fire and Emergency Services — NL also has some great information that can be found at http://www.gov.nl.ca/fes/epw/step1.html. There you can learn about the risks that exist that would prompt the need to put an emergency plan into action. There’s also advice on assembling an emergency kit and they recommend the basic emergency kit containing:
You may have some of these basic emergency kit items already, such as a flashlight, battery-operated radio, food, water and blankets. The key is to make sure they are organized, easy to find and easy to carry (in a suitcase with wheels or in a backpack) in case you need to evacuate your home. Whatever you do, don’t wait for a disaster to happen.
• Easy to carry – think of ways that you can pack your emergency kit so that you and those on your emergency plan can easily take the items with you, if necessary.
• Water – two litres of water per person per day (Include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order.)
• Food – that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (remember to replace the food and water once a year.)
• Manual can opener
• Flashlight and batteries
• Battery–powered or wind–up radio (and extra batteries)
• First aid kit
• Special needs items – prescription medications, infant formula or equipment for people with disabilities.
• Extra keys – for your car and house.
• Cash – include smaller bills, such as $10 bills (travellers cheques are also useful) and change for payphones.
• Emergency plan – include a copy of it and ensure it contains in–town and out–of–town contact information (to learn how to make an emergency plan visit http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/knw/plan/plan-eng.aspx).
The common theme throughout the information on being prepared for a major event or emergency situation is that you should have an emergency kit that will sustain you and your loved ones for 72 hours. Have it packed and ready to go, because the unexpected comes without warning.
– Karen Wells, editor