Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs
January 3, 2014
Public Advisory: Residents and Communities Encouraged to be Prepared
Residents throughout Newfoundland and Labrador are once again reminded that it is essential to be prepared for adverse weather.
Environment Canada is predicting that over the next 48 hours heavy snowfall and blizzard-like conditions may affect many parts of the province. Snow will begin today with winds gradually increasing through the afternoon and evening. Blowing snow and strong winds are anticipated overnight, with wind gusts reaching 80 km/h. Drifting and blowing snow conditions may persist for most of Saturday especially for exposed locations. Further information and updates on the weather forecast can be found at http://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=nl.
In addition, due to unseasonably cold conditions and very high load energy forecast, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has implemented rolling power outages and has asked customers to conserve energy where possible. More information on the power outages can be found at http://callcenter.nlh.nl.ca/Outage andhttp://www.newfoundlandpower.com/Outages/. Customers can assist in conserving electricity by reducing electric heat by a few degrees; conserving hot water by not running dishwashers, washers and showers; avoiding the use of clothes dryers; and, turning off Christmas lights.
The Provincial Government has taken immediate steps to decrease its own power usage by turning off all non-essential lights, such as Christmas lights on the Prince Philip Parkway and at Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as construction lights at Confederation Building and lights at other Provincial Government buildings throughout the province.
Residents and communities should always keep in mind that safety is of prime importance when dealing with adverse weather and the extreme cold. Detailed information regarding safety measures can be found in the backgrounder below. Residents are also reminded that each home and place of business should have an emergency preparedness plan, and should compile an emergency kit in advance of adverse weather with essential materials such as food and water. Information on what to include in an emergency kit can be found at http://www.getprepared.ca.
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are strongly encouraged to monitor local weather forecasts for changing conditions, listen to local radio stations for important messages from authorities, and to ensure every effort is made to prepare for adverse weather throughout the winter season. Preparation and planning is essential in advance.
Public Relations Specialist
Fire and Emergency Services-Newfoundland and Labrador
Safety Messages and Advice for Residents
During a Power Outage
· First, check whether the power outage is limited to your home. If your neighbours’ power is still on, check your own circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If the problem is not a breaker or a fuse, check the service wires leading to the house. If they are obviously damaged or on the ground, stay at least 10 metres back and notify your electricity provider. Keep the number for Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, along with other emergency numbers, near your telephone.
· Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment, and turn the thermostat(s) for the home heating system down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored. Also, power can be restored more easily when there is not a heavy load on the electrical system.
· Turn off all lights, except one inside and one outside, so that both you and electricity crews outside know that power has been restored.
· Don’t open your freezer or fridge unless it is absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door remains closed.
· Never use charcoal or propane barbecues, camping heating equipment, or home generators indoors.
· If at all possible, listen to a battery-powered or wind-up radio regularly for information on power outages or further advice from local authorities.
Carbon Monoxide and Fire Safety Tips
· In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be a source of carbon monoxide (CO). For this reason, CO alarms should be installed in the home.
· Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height of CO alarms.
· Choose alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
· Alarms should be tested and checked for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.
· If a CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrive.
· If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
· During and after a winter storm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
· During power outages, a generator should only be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
· Candles and other temporary heating sources should be monitored constantly, and should never be left unattended or operational while sleeping.
· All entrances and exits, including windows, should be free of snow build-up in the event an evacuation is required.
· In addition, residents are reminded that working smoke alarms are required in every bedroom of a home or dwelling, and in cottages and cabins too. These alarms should have some form of battery back-up, and should be checked regularly to ensure they are in working order.