Maritime residents, emergency officials prepare for potential impacts of Hurricane Fiona
Residents across the Maritimes are doing what they can to prepare for the potential impact of Hurricane Fiona.
Emergency officials are also advising of potential damage, flooding and power outages, and informing residents what they can do to be prepared.
Officials from Nova Scotia Power, the Emergency Management Office, and the Canadian Red Cross all say they are ready to respond to whatever Hurricane Fiona brings to the region.
Officials are also reminding residents to do the basics, like having emergency kits, enough food and water to last 72-hours, and ensure electronic devices are fully charged.
Emergency kit items to include are:
- a supply of water for between three and seven days
- non-perishable food
- a stocked First Aid kit
- prescription and non-prescription medicines
- formula, diapers and other baby supplies, if needed
- a manual can opener
- battery-powered radios and flashlights with extra batteries
- blankets and a change of clothing for each household member (in case of evacuation)
- candles and matches or a lighter
- a charged cell phone
In Halifax, the municipality says the biggest threat to homes and property is flying debris. HRM is reminding everyone to bring in or secure anything that could be picked up by the wind.
Nova Scotia Power says it has mobilized more than 500 field resources ahead of the storm, and while it says investments continue to be made in tree clearing efforts around power lines, officials continue to monitor conditions.
"The wind speeds in this event are very significant, so there could be trees that come into contact with power lines causing outages based on the sheer magnitude of the wind speeds coming with this weather system," said Sean Borden with Nova Scotia Power.
"We make sure that we've got our volunteer workforce on standby, that our logistics supplies are easily accessible and can be shipped out as needed, and then we work with our municipal and provincial partners around what services are going to be provided, up and to including, congregate sheltering," said Ancel Langille with the Canadian Red Cross.
Construction sites are also working to ensure no damage is experienced.
"I think we're going to do everything we can to make sure everything is tied down, bolted down - anything that can fly away," said Justin Cullinan, the project manager at a site on Russell Street in Halifax. "It'll be tucked-away somewhere safe. Or, it'll be screwed to something that's not going anywhere."
In Cape Breton, residents who live in Sydney's flood zone know all too well the damage and devastation a weather system like Fiona can bring.
"You don't want to create panic, but you want to make sure people are prepared for that and it's definitely beyond what we're used to. People should take it seriously," said Sydney resident Wayne McKay.
Hardware stores are also feeling the pressure. One department store in Sydney said they're struggling to keep up with the demand for generators this week.
"We sold 10 to 12 since yesterday afternoon I believe and we have a few left, but they're going very quick," said Vince MacLellan, a manager at a Sydney department store.
Department stores in the Halifax area are feeling the same pressures.
Paul Rainville was picking up a portable charger for electronic devices on Wednesday in preparation for the big storm. Having just moved from Ottawa, the approaching storm is his first hurricane since the 1950s.
"When I was four-years-old, I got shaken in Ottawa by Hurricane Hazel, and I still remember the high winds," said Rainville.
During a press conference in Sydney Wednesday afternoon, the main message was for Maritimers to monitor the weather and be prepared for the worst.
"I would say any area that is prone to flooding to expect the same, and another danger that comes with this is road washouts. So travelling around during this is strongly discouraged," said Christina Lamey with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
In New Brunswick, boat owners at the Shediac Bay Yacht Club were scrambling Wednesday to pull their vessels from the water before Hurricane Fiona's arrival this weekend.
In September 2019, tropical storm Dorian tossed dozens of boats and caused almost $2-million in damages.
"It was a big storm when Dorian came through and it was a big mess," said Gerry O'Brien, the manager at the Shediac Yacht Club.
"I had a sail boat on top of my power boat for a couple of days and we had to haul them out," said boat owner Denise Arsenault. "I want to make sure that doesn't happen again. I think we've all learned our lessons."
Storm preparations were also underway at the Pointe-Du-Chêne Wharf in Pointe-Du-Chêne, N.B.
"We're tying everything down. We're going to install the hurricane lines for our docks to protect our boaters, but the boaters should take their boats out before the storm hits," said Victor Cormier, the general manager at the Pointe-Du-Chêne Wharf.
Shediac Mayor Roger Caissie told CTV News, in the coming days, town staff will pick up any items that could blow away, such as park benches and garbage cans.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
The City of Charlottetown is also reminding residents of the importance of a 72-hour emergency preparedness plan.
During a press conference Wednesday, the P.E.I. Emergency Measures Organization says Islanders can expect some impacts from Hurricane Fiona as early as Friday.
“September is the most active time for the Atlantic hurricane season, and the best way for us to be prepared is to make sure our emergency plans are up to date, and our kits are fully stocked. This means making sure we have enough supplies for at least 72 hours,” said Minister of Justice and Public Safety Darlene Compton. “It is also important that we check on our loved ones and neighbours who might need an extra set of hands to prepare for what Fiona might bring.”
P.E.I. EMO is currently reviewing and testing business continuity plans with government departments, agency partners, municipalities, and community organizations to support them in preparedness efforts.
"We're going to have power outages. There's going to be trees down. Our trees are in full leaf so that creates a bit of a sail environment that it is a lot easier for trees to be uprooted," said Tanya Mullally, the director of P.E.I. EMO.
Residents are encouraged to replenish supplies of their emergency preparedness kits to include provisions like additional food, water, heat and fuel supplies that will sustain households for up to five days.
P.E.I. is also working on plans to set up an indoor shelter from Thursday to Sunday at a community hall in Charlottetown.
"I spoke with Minister MacKay earlier today who assures me that his departments are finalizing plans to help support local Islanders, including those precariously housed," said Compton.
It' still unclear if Hurricane Fiona will impact the island and when, but emergency officials are taking the threat seriously, and say Islanders should do the same.
Emergency officials are also advising Islanders to stay home once the storm has begun, not only for safety, but to provide recovery crews with the space they need for cleanup.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Bruce Frisko, Kyle Moore, Jack Morse and Derek Haggett.
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