CARAQUET (GNB) –Premier Brian Gallant joined officials with NB Power and the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) in Caraquet today to signal that storm recovery efforts would be intensified in the regions of the Acadian Peninsula, Miramichi and Kent County.

“As hardworking power crews continue to work tirelessly to restore power, the provincial government is rushing more resources to the most impacted areas and considering other measures to provide support to the residents,” said Gallant. “These efforts include, but are not limited to, opening additional emergency shelters, bringing in first responders and other provincial employees from other areas to go door to door offering support to residents without power and consulting with the federal government on the capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces to help in the recovery. We will exhaust all options to add support for our fellow New Brunswickers who are still without power.”

By the end of day today, NB Power estimates crews will restore power to 99 per cent of customers in the Sussex and Moncton regions; 65 per cent of customers in the Acadian Peninsula; and 85 per cent of customers in Miramichi.

Gallant also reacted to reports of serious incidents occurring as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“The most important thing at this time is the safety of our residents as we work to recover from this storm. That is why we are devastated to have learned of these events,” said Gallant. “Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of these individuals.”

EMO officials remind New Brunswickers to never run generators or cook with an open flame inside a home or the garage as these activities create carbon monoxide which can become extremely dangerous. Never leave candles or lanterns unattended. Take a moment to test the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.

Some communities have declared a local state of emergency. The provincial government continues to work in concert with these communities and is continuously reassessing the situation.

Emergency shelters

Emergency shelters and warming centres have been established in a number of affected communities to provide some relief from the cold. Warming centres provide a chance for people to warm up and charge electronic devices, while emergency shelters have the added comfort of a cot and blanket where people can get some rest. Residents are strongly encouraged to visit these sites. A list of emergency shelters and warming centres is available online. More sites will be opened as needed.

Fuel

The government is working to ensure fuel supply for the region. Currently there are no issues with fuel shortages or distribution in New Brunswick. In some cases, fuel stations may not have power to pump fuel. There are fuel stations at various locations across the northeast that are fully powered and have fuel available. There continues to be a large volume of sales of fuel but providers continue to make sure stations are regularly refueled as soon as it's needed.

NB Power

NB Power reminds motorists and the public to remain at a safe distance from crews working on the ground. It is important to drive slowly for both the safety of the public and the crews working to restore power on lines near the road. NB Power also reminds the public to stay at a safe distance of 10 metres from downed power lines or trees.

Crews continue to make progress and are doing both active assessment and restoration in eight regions across the province. There are 300 crews on the ground working out of eight local command centres to help restore power. This includes crews from NB Power, Nova Scotia Power, Hydro-Québec, as well as local and external contractors. Additional resources have been dispatched to support these command centers.

The build-up of ice on trees, poles and lines is up to two inches on some equipment and is creating challenges for line crews. New outages continue to be reported.

In northeastern regions, NB Power is assessing the damage and making progress to restore high-priority impact outages. Significant progress is being made in the south and southeast regions and as crews complete work in that part of the province they will be moving to join in the efforts in the northeast. Restoration targets will continue to be updated online.

Emergency measures

The provincial emergency operations centre remains activated and officials from all government departments are co-ordinating recovery response.

EMO is focusing on establishing emergency shelters to meet the needs of people without power. The organization continues to work closely with critical infrastructure partners to anticipate needs and fix supply chains for services like cellphone and landline service, fuel, food, energy and transportation.

An estimated 50 ground search and rescue teams, local fire fighters, peace officers and public safety officials are going door to door to check on the welfare of residents and more resources will be added over the weekend. This includes visiting all nursing homes and special care homes, as well as visiting individual homes to inquire whether they have additional needs or require transportation to warming centres.

In addition, the mobile command post will be moved to Caraquet.

Hospitals and Ambulance New Brunswick

Several community health centres remain closed in affected areas due to power outages. Residents are advised to call in advance of travelling to confirm appointments.

Ambulance New Brunswick is operating at full capacity to respond to emergency calls.

The Tracadie-Sheila Hospital will have power restored Friday afternoon. All hospitals in the Horizon and Vitalité Health networks have power or are on backup power. Contingencies are in place for refuelling generators at hospitals running on backup power.

Important public reminders

Residents should not approach downed power lines, or trees that are in contact with power lines.

Residents are encouraged to check on their neighbours, particularly the elderly, to see if they require any assistance.

Anyone who is having difficulty with being cold should visit one of the warming centres or emergency shelters. If you do not know how to get to these centres, call EMO at 1-800-561-4034.

New Brunswickers with any medical concerns who are affected by power outages are encouraged to call Tele-Care 811. If you are in an emergency situation call 911.

If your power is out turn down heat sources and unplug major appliances in their home in advance of power restoration to avoid a surge in demand that has the potential to cause more outages.

Never run generators or cook with an open flame, inside a home or the garage, as these activities create carbon monoxide which can become extremely dangerous. Never leave candles or lanterns unattended. Take a moment to test the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.

Anyone travelling should exercise extreme caution while driving, especially in rural areas where they may encounter downed trees and power lines.

Food safety: If you have no power, do not open your freezer or fridge unless it is absolutely necessary. If the door remains closed, a full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours without electricity. These products can be refrozen if ice crystals are still present. All perishable food in a refrigerator without electricity for more than 24 hours should be discarded.

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