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EDITORIAL: Approaching storm

Pedestrians walk past the Mosaic Church sign in Fairview on Sunday, September 20, 2020. Teddy is expected to bring lots of wind and rain all day Tuesday and most of Wednesday. The storm is likely to make landfall on Eastern Shore early Wednesday.
Pedestrians walk past the Mosaic Church sign in Halifax on Sunday. Teddy is expected to bring lots of wind and rain today and most of Wednesday. — SaltWire Network file photo

There is a bumper sticker that has been around for decades, and probably still crops up on the car in front of you occasionally.

In fine, small letters, it says, “If you can read this … YOU’RE TOO CLOSE!”

Well, if you’re depending on this space to see what you need to get ready for the expected arrival of the tropical storm that was hurricane Teddy in many parts of the Atlantic region, you’d better get moving.

So here goes. The Canadian Red Cross has a very pragmatic statement on how you need to prepare for a significant disaster: be prepared to be on your own for the first 72 hours. Emergency services are likely to be overtaxed or unable to reach you.

Most of all, what you can do right now is plan, and in a whole bunch of ways.

That means you should have enough water for three days, that you should have a plan for how you’ll get by safely without electricity for that same period, and what sort of first aid supplies you’ll need in case of a minor or serious injury.

Here’s the complete Red Cross list: water; non-perishable food (and a manual can opener if your food includes cans); special needs such as medications, baby needs, extra glasses, etc.; important family documents (i.e. copies of birth and marriage certificates, passports, licences, wills, land deeds and insurance); a copy of your emergency plan; a crank or battery-operated flashlight, with extra batteries; a battery-operated or crank radio; extra keys for your house and car; first aid kit; extra cash; personal hygiene items; pet food and pet medication; a cellphone with extra charger or battery pack.

Some things sound almost old-fashioned: cash? Well, don’t forget that debit machines need electricity. So do many things you depend on every day, like, for example, your fridge.

Now, it’s also important to point out that what the Red Cross is recommending isn’t that you go out and try to find all these things right now; in fact, their recommendation is that you always maintain a kit that hits all those bases.

Most of all, what you can do right now is plan, and in a whole bunch of ways. Plan escape routes from your home and apartment. Move things into garages or sheds that might blow around in high winds and create their own havoc, or secure them in place. Make sure there isn’t already debris blocking storm drainage.

While things are still relatively calm, take stock of what might go wrong and how you can sensibly address things like flooding, broken windows and the potential for fallen trees, branches and overhead lines. Often, deaths and injuries during serious weather occur when people make spur-of-the-moment decisions, particularly about trying to protect property, and head out into a storm without properly considering the dangers involved.

Play smart, and play it safe.

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