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December 16, 2009
For immediate release

Prepare Ahead for Winter Emergencies

Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour

The Office of Public Safety is advising Islanders to prepare in advance to help reduce risks and better cope with winter weather-related emergencies.

Each May, during National Emergency Preparedness Week, the provincial Office of Public Safety works with federal partners to encourage and promote emergency preparedness through a three-step action plan: Know the risks - Make a plan - Get an emergency kit.

“Emergency preparedness begins at home,” said Aaron Campbell, Director of the PEI Office of Public Safety. “When something happens, it may take emergency workers some time to get to everyone, as they help those in desperate need first. Taking steps to prepare in advance will prove valuable whether we are experiencing a tropical storm in the summer or a blizzard or ice storm this winter.

“An emergency plan will help you and your family know what to do when disaster strikes, and an emergency kit will help you cope on your own for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency,” Mr. Campbell said.

To learn more about emergency preparedness, or to download a copy of the 72 Hour Emergency Preparedness Guide which has checklists and templates for personal emergency planning, go to or call EMO at 894-0385.

The Emergency Measures Organization (EMO), a section of the Office of Public Safety, works with many partners to provide for the safety of Islanders and respond to emergencies, including: Red Cross, Public Safety Canada, the Salvation Army, the RCMP and Municipal Police services, the community Fire Departments, Municipal Councils and Federation of PEI Municipalities, Maritime Electric, Bell Aliant, plow operators and staff of provincial and municipal Transportation departments, the Department of National Defense and the three PEI reserve units, Island EMS, and the Media.


Tips for Preparing for Winter Storms:

• When a winter storm hits, stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress for the weather.

• Visibility is limited during heavy blowing snow or a blizzard. Do not try to walk to another building unless there is a rope to guide you or something you can follow.

• If your car gets stuck in a blizzard or snowstorm, stay in your car. Allow fresh air in by opening the window slightly on the sheltered side, away from the wind. You can run the car engine about 10 minutes every half-hour but first check the exhaust pipe to make sure it is not blocked.

• Don’t overexert yourself. Overexertion in the bitter cold can result in hypothermia from sweating or a heart attack.

• If you live on a farm, shelter animals. If the structure is sound, animals should be placed indoors. Secure all openings to the outside and check water supplies to ensure they have not frozen.

• Watch out for branches or wires that could break due to the weight of the ice and fall on you. Remember that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of an ice storm.

• Never approach downed power lines. Stay back at least 10 meters (33 feet) from wires or anything in contact with them.

• Even a small amount of freezing rain can make roads extremely slippery. Listen to media reports for travel advice from officials.

A Basic Emergency Kit should include:

• Water – two litres of water per person per day

• Food – that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods

• 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 (ATMs won’t work if power is out)

An Emergency Plan should include:

• Safe exits from home and neighbourhood

• Meeting places to reunite with family or roommates

• Designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable

• Contact persons close-by and out-of-town

• Health information

• Place for your pet to stay

• Risks in your region

For more information on ways to keep your family safe and comfortable during an emergency, call 894-0385 or go to

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Media Contact: Connie McNeill
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