Following a power outage the weekend of February 9-10 that saw more than a thousand residents lose power as temperatures were set to fall to -18 degrees, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is reminding all residents the importance of being prepared in case of an emergency.
“Our emergency services personnel performed exceptionally well communicating updates with residents,” said Whistler Fire Services Chief John McKearney. “However, because we live in an environment where we are susceptible to natural disasters and the elements, I’m asking all residents to make sure they are prepared to take care of themselves and their family for at least 72 hours should they need to.”
Severe storms are the greatest risk to Whistler during the winter months and wildfires during the summer. Emergency preparedness experts advise all Canadians to have an emergency plan in place and a kit with a minimum of 72 hours of supplies.
Should you find yourself without power in your home for a prolonged amount of time, you need to be prepared with the following during the winter:
- 72 hours of supplies including non-perishable food items, two litres of water per person per day, flashlight and batteries or hand-cranked flashlight, first-aid kit, medicines, warm sleeping bags and blankets, a radio with batteries and a phone that connects directly to your phone jack since cellphones will eventually lose power and cordless phones will not work without electricity.
- Extra formula for infants if they require it and pet food for pets.
- Copies of important documents and phone numbers that may be lost if a cell phone loses power and prescription medication information.
- A neighbourhood plan. Know who in your neighbourhood needs checking in on and may require help if they lose power.
During a power outage, safety is important:
- Never leave candles unattended, especially overnight.
- Only use portable generators and barbeques outdoors, using those indoors for any amount of time can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Know where the shut-offs are for your water and gas lines.
- Never approach a downed power line even if it looks like there is no power to it. Always assume power lines are electrified and stay at least 10 metres (33 feet) away.
- Leave your home if you feel there is immediate danger, including if you feel light-headed our nauseous as this could be a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Have a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector.