LAMÈQUE (GNB) – Premier Brian Gallant joined federal Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Rear Admiral John Newton, commander of Joint Task Force Atlantic, and officials with NB Power, the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) and the Red Cross in Lamèque today to update residents on the continuing ice storm recovery.

"There are hundreds of people, including volunteers, first responders, power crews, and government employees, who have been working around the clock,” said Gallant. “All of those involved in the recovery efforts have made significant progress in the last 24 hours in getting families' power restored, knocking on people's doors to give one-on-one support, and clearing roads of debris, helping the circulation in the areas impacted by the storm. I thank New Brunswickers for their continued patience during this difficult time.

"The help of the Canadian Armed Forces will help us immensely with our recovery efforts. I thank them for their service and support."

The provincial government has requested that the Red Cross perform a needs assessment on the most urgent and vulnerable cases among those impacted by this event for the government’s review and determination of next steps. This assessment will help determine specifically what types of assistance are required by residents. This will help to match government resources, donated resources and Red Cross resources with where they are needed most.

The Red Cross is currently reallocating resources to meet the demands of this assessment process. Further details will be coming from the Red Cross.

The Red Cross and the Province of New Brunswick have a long history of working together in times of crises. The Red Cross have been assisting the response to this emergency by providing support to warming centres and shelters.         

Donations may be made online or by phone, toll free, at 1-800-418-1111.

Armed Forces

A team of approximately 200 soldiers from the Armed Forces is now on the ground to aid with recovery efforts in the hardest hit areas of the province.

“The federal government has been in constant communication with the Province of New Brunswick since last week’s ice storm,” said LeBlanc. “In response to a request for assistance submitted by the province to the federal government on Sunday, the Canadian Armed Forces has sent between 150 and 200 personnel to support the ongoing emergency response to the ice storm. These Armed Forces members are working today to help ensure the safety of those affected by this unprecedented weather event. My thoughts are with my fellow New Brunswickers as they respond to, and recover from, the damage inflicted by the storm. I am encouraged by the help that neighbours are offering each other during this extremely difficult time, and I applaud the tireless work being carried out by hydro crews working to restore power to the region.”

The size, structure and capability of the Armed Forces support is tailored to the specific needs of this emergency response. Assistance from the Armed Forces will come in the form of personnel and equipment to conduct a variety of tasks, including delivering emergency supplies and supporting door-to-door residential well-being checks.

In the coming days, available resources from the military and provincial government can be redeployed to other areas where they are needed.

NB Power

Sunday was a successful day in NB Power’s effort to restore power to customers.

Line crews made substantial progress in each region with 17,000 customers restored on Sunday. This includes 7,000 in the Acadian Peninsula, nearly 4,000 in Miramichi, 3,000 in Kent County and 3,000 in the Greater Moncton region.

There are now 380 crews on the ground. About 85 per cent of these crews are located from Miramichi to the Acadian Peninsula.

Restoration targets for affected customers in the Acadian Peninsula remain 60 per cent by Monday night. Targets for Miramichi and Kent County are 90 per cent by Monday night and, for Greater Moncton, 95 per cent by Monday night.

As of 11:30 a.m. today, about 20,000 customers remained without power, the majority of those in the hardest hit area of the Acadian Peninsula.

Restoration work remains extremely challenging. Thick ice continues to encase poles, cross-arms, switches and other equipment, which makes individual outages much more time-consuming for crews to repair.

These difficult conditions make power restoration more time-consuming as crews are forced to work on much smaller sections of line and are only able to reconnect small numbers of customers at a time.

In Kent County and around Miramichi, fallen trees and extreme conditions in the woods and on rural roads continue to impact overall progress.

Cold load pick up remains a serious issue, causing additional outages across the province as restorations continue. Anyone currently experiencing an outage is advised to turn off their electric heating and unplug their appliances and plug them in gradually after power is restored.

Be careful around power lines and trees, and leave the cleanup to NB Power crews. It is also important to drive slowly, for your own safety and that of NB Power crews working to restore power on lines near the road.

NB Power said this has become the most extensive storm restoration effort in the utility’s recent history, with nearly 200,000 customers spread across a huge area of the province impacted by the storm.

Continued focus on response

In an effort to keep a continued focus on emergency response, the provincial government plans to introduce a motion Tuesday to delay the resumption of the legislature. This will also result in a delay of introduction of the provincial budget.

Door-to-door

It is clear from NB Power that it may take some time for some areas of the province to have electricity reconnected. The provincial government will focus on needs that may continue over the coming days.‎

Hundreds of volunteers continue to go door-to-door to check on the welfare of residents. These efforts are being supported by the Armed Forces. In addition, the Emergency Measures Organization has organized five warming teams made up of local firefighters who started to visit homes Sunday night.

These teams will use equipment to provide a source of heat to warm up impacted homes.

Carbon monoxide

The number of people that are being treated or have been treated in hospital for illnesses related to carbon monoxide is now 33. 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.  If you have headaches and have the symptoms of the flu, leave your home immediately.

Food safety: when in doubt, throw it out

Residents who have been without power for a period of time are reminded to carefully inspect all food items and do not eat any food you think may not be safe.

Discard any thawed food that has been at room temperature for two or more hours, and any food that has an obvious unusual colour or odour. Keep in mind that food contaminated with bacteria does not necessarily smell bad or appear spoiled.

If raw food has leaked during thawing, clean and disinfect the areas the food has touched. Do not reuse the cloths you have used for clean-up until they have been disinfected by washing in hot water.

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.

Emergency measures

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

Hundreds of volunteers will continue to visit 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.

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 today 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 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.

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