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Emergency management officials encourage Haligonians to prepare for Dorian

Dorian has the potential to arrive in HRM has a Category 1 hurricane
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Halifax Regional Municipality has been busy preparing for Dorian's arrival, and emergency management officials are encouraging Haligonians to do the same.

Dorian has the potential to arrive in HRM as a Category 1 hurricane.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre's 3 p.m. Thursday projected track has the system making landfall along the Eastern Shore Saturday evening, bringing with it hurricane-force winds.

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency's Emergency Management Chief, Erica Fleck, said there are still several unknowns when it comes to how Halifax will be affected. And while we're hoping for the best, we need to be prepared for the worst.

"People should be self-sufficient in their homes for 72-hours, so water and food," she said. "For those people on wells, with no power your well is not going to work, so fill up your bathtub and have other water sources, like jugs filled."

When stocking up on food, HRM says don't forget your pets.

"Special items such as prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal should be gathered before the storm," recommends the municipality in a news release.

It's a good idea to gas up your vehicle, have some cash on hand and fully charge cell phones. Back up battery chargers and flashlights are also recommended.

"People start to look at barbecues and generators, but the big thing is, don't operate those within your home or within your garage [because of] carbon monoxide poisoning," Fleck explained. "You really need to be careful. Don't have anything with a fuel source running inside your house that you wouldn't normally."

Fleck said with significant wind gusts expected Saturday, Haligonians should remove flower pots, lawn chairs, umbrellas and other loose objects from around the outside of their homes.

"If they could take that stuff and put it away in their sheds and other protected areas, that would go a long way [in preventing] things from smashing through windows and damaging cars," Fleck said.

Anyone who sees a downed power line or other emergency situation should call 911. Other issues -- like flooding, downed trees or blocked roadways -- can be reported through 311.

Fleck is hoping people stay inside during the height of the storm.

"Stay out of the wind, stay out of the weather," she said. "We have a tendency with citizens, they want to be outside looking at the cool storm effects, but it's really not safe to do. They're much safer inside their homes."

HRM crews have been busy filling generators, checking equipment and making sure they have enough rain gear, fuel and water to respond to Dorian.

Fleck said right now their biggest concern is those living in the municipality's coastal communities.

HRM has also been busy planning and preparing emergency comfort centers and shelter sites throughout the municipality. More information on where those will be and when they'll be open will be made available closer to when they are activated.

Nova Scotia Power plans to activate it's Emergency Operations Centre at noon Friday. 

Customers can report outages and get estimated restoration times online at outagemap.nspower.ca or by calling Nova Scotia Power at 1-877-428-6004.

Halifax Water says its Emergency Operations Centre will be in operation on a 24 hour basis throughout the storm. 

The utility is encouraging Haligonians to help the rain get in the storm drain by safely clearing trash, leaves, or other debris from a catchbasins on their streets. A map of catchbasins in HRM can be found online.

Anyone with water, wastewater and stormwater/flooding related issues can call the utility's Customer Care Centre at 902-420-9287 or email customercare@halifaxwater.ca.

The provincial Emergency Management Office has provided the following checklist of how to prepare for the storm:

The basic checklist includes:

  • enough food and water for 72 hours
  • monitoring local media outlets for updates
  • securing gates, doors and windows
  • moving yard furniture and securing trash cans, hanging plants and anything that can be picked up by wind
  • checking radio batteries
  • filling vehicles with gas and parking them away from trees
  • keeping pets inside
  • moving any type of watercraft to high ground
  • ensure the safety of you and your family
  • check on neighbours
  • if the power has gone out, do not leave candles unattended

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana & lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for HalifaxToday.ca.
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