SHIPPAGAN (GNB) – Premier Brian Gallant joined officials with NB Power and the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) in Shippagan today to update residents on the continuing ice storm recovery.

“Every level of government, EMO, NB Power employees, and hundreds of New Brunswickers volunteering are doing everything they can to assist the families and communities that are still without power,” said Gallant. “New Brunswickers have been patient and have been working together through this difficult situation. I thank New Brunswickers for their displays of generosity and solidarity.”

On Saturday, a team from the Armed Forces conducted reconnaissance. The provincial government has requested assistance from the military and, on Monday, troops will augment government resources responding to the recovery. It is expected that approximately 150 members of the military will be deployed, with more available as needed.

“The military will be deployed where the greatest needs exist in the worst-hit areas of the province,” said Gallant. “The Canadian Army will support local authorities with door-to-door, debris clearance, and distribution of water and other essentials.”

Hundreds of volunteers are going door-to-door to check on the welfare of residents, with more on the way. This includes visiting all nursing homes and special care homes, as well as visiting individual homes provincewide to inquire whether they have additional needs or require transportation to warming centres. Volunteers have visited more than 90 per cent of homes, representing about 15,500 households, to provide affected residents with critical information on safety, water and other basic requirements.

NB Power

Crews continue to make progress in reconnecting customers affected by the ice storm. More than 350 crews, including 130 in the Acadian Peninsula, are working in challenging conditions, including removing trees and debris from lines and roads, and high winds along the Northumberland shore.

In total, more than 32,000 customers were reconnected on Saturday, with more than 6,000 of those in the Acadian Peninsula. NB Power restored power to more than 80 per cent of affected customers in Miramichi, 99 per cent of customers in Shediac, Sackville and Sussex, 92 per cent in the Greater Moncton region and 72 per cent in Kent County, which continues to experience some of the same issues as seen in the Acadian Peninsula, such as extreme ice loading on lines.

Progress has been hampered by an extreme amount of thick ice covering gear and infrastructure. Between 350 and 400 poles will need to be replaced in hardest hit areas. New outages due to the weight of the ice load also continue to be reported, including outages affecting more than 3,000 customers in the Acadian Peninsula. In Kent County, fallen trees and extreme conditions in the woods and on rural roads continue to impact progress.

NB Power now estimates crews will restore power to 60 per cent of customers in the Acadian Peninsula by Monday night, and 85 per cent in Miramichi and Kent County by Sunday night.

Cold load pickup is causing additional outages across the province. Residents currently experiencing an outage are advised to unplug their appliances and plug them in gradually after power is restored.

Specific times for restoration are now available on NB Power’s website. These are targets based on the best information they have at this time.

Carbon monoxide

The number of people that are being treated or have been treated in hospital for illnesses related to carbon monoxide is now 31. The provincial government has confirmed two people died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

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 (CO) which can become extremely dangerous. It is also important that generators are kept away from a residence so gases cannot enter a home. Never leave candles or lanterns unattended. Take a moment to test the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.

If a CO alarm sounds or if you suspect CO in your home, immediately go outside into fresh air.

Emergency measures

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

Hundreds of volunteers have visited more than 90 per cent of homes to check on the welfare of residents and provide critical information on safety. This includes visiting all nursing homes and special care homes, as well as visiting individual homes provincewide to inquire whether they have additional needs or require transportation to warming centres.

In addition, a mobile command post has been established in Caraquet.

Shelters and warming centres

Residents are strongly encouraged to visit warming centres and emergency shelters to get relief from the cold. Anyone with questions about these centres may call the Red Cross at 1-800-222-9597, or EMO at 1-800-561-4034.

Critical infrastructure

Telecommunication services are operating normally and the 911 system is in operation. Food, fuel and hardware goods are all routinely available.

All schools in the Acadian Peninsula region will be closed Monday and Tuesday.

Important public reminders

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.

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 your home in advance of power restoration to avoid a surge in demand that has the potential to cause more outages.

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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