We're assembling useful information and tweets from key players as the power outage situation continues.
Power outage toolkit
Carbon Monoxide tips
With one death in the province and eight other cases of illness attributed to CO poisoning, we've compiled these notes from a St. John's Morning Show interview with Vince MacKenzie, president of Newfoundland and Labrador Fire Services Association, and a news release from Eastern Health.
C0 is a gas that replaces oxygen in your bloodstream. It absorbs in your bloodstream over 230 times faster than oxygen and it displaces the oxygen in your blood stream. It can take between 12 and 24 hours to leave your system. It is cumulative and gets worse and worse until it's expelled through exhalation.
Even low levels CO in your home over time such as 8 or 12 or 24 hours can cause systems symptoms.
High-level exposure means you can walk into a room and collapse because you've inhaled the poison and it overwhelms the body.
Often times, low levels of CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning or other illnesses and carry a long-term health risk if left unattended. Symptoms of exposure may include nausea and headaches, while more severe poisoning may cause vomiting, dizziness, slowed thinking, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, collapse and even cardiac arrest. When more than one person experiences these symptoms at the same time, CO poisoning is likely the cause. It should be noted that people with medical conditions such as coronary or vascular disease may be particularly at risk, as well as children and pregnant women.
Eastern Health says most CO poisoning is the result of engine exhaust, often from running a generator, snow blower or car, or in some cases propane appliances. Use of these items is often more common during severe weather and/or power outages, which has proven the case this past weekend. It should be emphasized that engines should not be operated in an enclosed space under any circumstances.
Eastern Health encourages individuals to have CO alarms installed in their homes. If a CO alarm sounds or the presence of CO is suspected, immediately move everyone to a fresh air location outdoors or near an open window or door. Once in a safe location, call emergency services. If a family member or friend does not return promptly when expected it is recommended to check on them and call emergency services immediately if they are found unwell after working with an engine in a shed or garage.
But Vince MacKenzie cautions that many CO detectors rely on electricity to operate. Unless they are battery operated or backed up by battery, they can't be relied on.
Many people will bring portable generators, camp stoves using oil, gas or kerosene or barbeques inside homes or sheds during situation like this week's power outages. Vince MacKenzie says don't do it.
Propane ranges are designed to be inside a home and are built to burn the fuel completely. Camping stoves and barbeques are meant to be used outside. They burn fuel incompletely and incomplete combustion means more CO.
Newfoundland Power outage information :1-800-474-5711
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro outage information :1-888-764-9376
Provincial Office in St. John's
Fire Protection Services Telephone: 1-709-729-1608
Emergency Services Telephone: 1-709-729-3703
709-292-4414 or 709-292-4078
Happy Valley-Goose Bay
Canada Post: 1-866-607-6301
Internet and Phone services
(select NL tab for province specific outage updates)
Marine Atlantic: 1-800-341-7981
Provincial Ferry Service: 1-888-638-5454
St. John’s International Airport: 709-758-8500 (local) or 1-866-758-8581 (toll-free)
Deer Lake Airport: 709-635-3601/5270/3048
Emergency Response Service: 709-635-2725
Environment Canada: 1-800-668-6767 or 819-997-2800
Environment Canada Atlantic Office: 1-902-426-7231
Other useful weather-related sites
Avalon Region: 1-709-729-7669
Eastern Region: 1-709-466-4160
Central Region: 1-709-292-4444
Western Region: 1-709-635-4144
Labrador Region: 1-709-896-7888
Terra Nova National Park: 1-709-533-2801
During an emergency it is recommended you have in your home:
- Food and water: Ideally a 72-hour supply of non-perishable food for each person
- Manual can opener
- Crank or battery-operated flashlight, with extra batteries
- Crank or battery-operated radio, with extra batteries
- Extra keys, for house and car
- First aid kit
- Cash in small bills|
- Special needs items (medications, infant formula)
- Personal hygiene items
- Important family documents (copies of birth and marriage certificates, passports, licenses, wills, land deeds and insurance)
- Copy of your emergency plan
- Other items that are useful include:
- Change of clothing and footwear for each person
- Plastic sheeting
- Scissors or pocket knife
- Hand sanitizer
- Pet food and pet medication
- Garbage bags and twist ties
- Toilet paper
- Multi-tool or basic tools (hammer, wrench, screwdriver, etc.)
- Duct tape
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
In your vehicle it is recommended you have:
- Non-perishable food and water
- Shovel and ice scraper
- Extra clothing and shoes|
- Crank or battery operated flashlight, with extra batteries
- Road maps and flares
- Warm work gloves
- Sand, salt or kitty litter
- De-icer (methyl hydrate)
- Windshield washer
- Jumper cable
Source: The Canadian Red Cross
Tips for assisting persons with disabilities
- Check on neighbours with disabilities to find out if they require assistance during an emergency
- Ask first if the person requires assistance.
- Allow the person to identify how best to assist them.
- Do not touch the person, their service animal and/or their assistive device/equipment without their permission.
- Follow instructions posted on special needs equipment and/or assistive devices.
- Avoid attempts to lift, support or assist in moving someone unless you are familiar with safe techniques.
- Use latex free gloves when providing personal care whenever possible. (Persons with spinal cord injury have a greater risk of developing an infectious disease during an emergency. Gloves help control secondary medical conditions that can easily arise if personal care is disrupted during an emergency.)
- Ensure that the person’s wheelchair goes with the person.
Blind and Low Vision
- To guide them, offer them your arm instead of taking theirs and walk at their pace. Keep half a step ahead of them.
- Provide advance warning of upcoming stairs, curbs, major obstacles, or changes in direction. Watch for overhangs or protrusions the person could walk into.
Deaf/Hard of Hearing
- Get the person’s attention via a visual cue or a gentle touch on their arm before speaking to them.
- Face the person and make eye contact when speaking to them as they may rely on speech reading.
- Communicate in close proximity. Refrain from shouting or speaking unnaturally slowly. Speak clearly and naturally.
- Use hand gestures to help explain the meaning of what you are trying to communicate to the person.
- Write messages and keep a pencil and paper handy for communicating with those that may be deaf.
- Avoid approaching the person from behind
Source: The Coalition of Persons with Disabilities-NL (COD-NL)