NS disaster relief officials hold press conference about preparations for Hurricane Fiona TBEN News

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As Hurricane Fiona rages toward Atlantic Canada and is expected to make landfall later this week, officials across the province are preparing for the storm and are urging residents to do the same.

Representatives from the provincial Emergency Management Office, Nova Scotia Power, Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the Canadian Red Cross held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss preparations.

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The storm is expected to bring high winds, heavy rainfall and storm surges and could lead to power outages, flooding and serious damage.

The BHV asks people to prepare for Fiona by:

  • Have enough food and water for 72 hours.
  • Securing objects that can be blown away by the wind.
  • Moving watercraft to higher ground.
  • Filling vehicles with petrol and parking road near trees.
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Check radio batteries and flashlights.
  • Check in with neighbors.
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Homeless Support

Some assistance will be available for people who do not have access to safe housing.

Bruce MacDonald, head of emergency management for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said the Sydney homeless shelter will be available and have the option to expand into an extreme weather center in the facility’s basement if needed.

“We will look at everything else to provide additional support if needed,” MacDonald said at the press conference.

This satellite image from late Wednesday morning shows Hurricane Fiona, below, centered over the Turks and Caicos Islands. (National Hurricane Center)

Ancel Langille, a senior manager with the Canadian Red Cross, said that when the organization opens a shelter on behalf of a province or municipality, it is open to everyone.

“We don’t close the doors to anyone who needs support,” he said. “So if a shelter is open in a municipality where someone comes because they have had to evacuate their home, our services will be available to anyone who shows up.”

Maggie-Jane Spray, a spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said staff are looking at options for those living in designated shelters and other locations, and more information will be released soon.

Telecom preparation

After Hurricane Dorian, many people been without mobile and internet for days after the storm cut power to the cell towers and eventually drained backup batteries for wireless sites.

The situation prompted then Prime Minister Stephen McNeil to say that telecommunications companies: must join the county emergency operations team during major storms to ensure service disruptions are minimized.

Jason Mew of the Emergency Management Office said the county has been in touch with Bell, Eastlink and Rogers to determine who will work with the county at the coordination center during the storm. “We believe they will be fully engaged,” Mew said.

The provincial Emergency Management Office says it is working with Bell, Rogers and Eastlink to coordinate storm preparations. (TBEN)

In a statement to TBEN News, Bell said the company is already in contact with the county, EMO and Nova Scotia Power and will work closely with them to keep customers connected.

If the backup batteries run out during a power outage, Bell activates generators to keep the sites running.

The company says it has already activated its internal emergency response process and crews are fueling generators and checking them on site.

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