'2020 has definitely not been our friend’: N.S. officials prepare for Hurricane Teddy
HALIFAX -- Hurricane Teddy is still off the coast of Bermuda, but officials in Nova Scotia are prepared for the storm in case it arrives in the province next week.
"Knowing that it's the busiest hurricane season in history in Atlantic so we've been working on this for quite a while," said Erica Fleck, the assistant chief of community risk reduction with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency.
Fleck says they’ve been working with public health to develop COVID-19 protocols for their 1,000 volunteers in the event comfort centres need to be set up.
"They all have extra masks, gloves, how to screen people, the questions that we have to ask them when they're coming into the centres. If they've tested positive and have to leave their home, then how do we deal with that in a comfort centre to keep everybody safe in there, so there's additional precautions with people that have been told to self-isolate that we may have to deal with or if somebody's in there and they become symptomatic," said Fleck.
It was just over a year ago that Dorian swept through Nova Scotia. The powerful storm knocked down trees and left more than 400,000 people in the dark.
Nova Scotia Power says they will be opening their emergency operations centre on Sunday, in anticipation of Teddy.
"2020 has been a very active tropical storm season we knew that we needed to be ready from a pandemic standpoint," said Matt Drover.
Drover said they are working with EMO to make sure workers have the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and that plans are in place if they have to bring in additional contractors.
"If we do bring contractors in the province, we'll make sure that they are only focused on the storm work and then they will be located in their hotels after that," he said.
Even with a potential hurricane on the way, Fleck is reminding people to stay calm. She says there is no need to panic buy items, but that it is good to be prepared.
"2020 has definitely not been our friend but there's definitely no need to panic. Just be prepared to stay in your home when there's no power and be safe doing that," said Fleck.
The Emergency Management Office (EMO) is asking all Nova Scotians to prepare ahead of Hurricane Teddy.
In addition to having enough food and water in your home for 72 hours, EMO suggests people should also fill their vehicles with gas and park them away from trees, keep pets inside and check radio batteries.
They say Nova Scotians should keep in mind that they need to continue to follow COVID-19 public health directions as they prepare. Stores often have longer lineups in advance of a storm, and physical distancing of two metres (six feet) and mask wearing are still required.
The Halifax Regional Municipality says the largest threat to homes and property is flying debris.
The city is asking people to move umbrellas and patio furniture inside and remove anything that high winds could pick up such as garbage containers/bags, flower pots, toys, temporary signage, sports equipment, and any other objects located near the right of way.
They say election signs should also be taken indoors until the storm has passed.
Residents in HRM are urged to sign-up for hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system. Subscribers will receive urgent and non-urgent public alerts by phone, email or text. You can sign up here.