Prince Edward Island hospitals, police and utilities prepare for emergencies as Fiona closes


Police departments, hospitals, electric utilities and fire departments were bracing for potential emergencies on Friday as Hurricane Fiona moved closer to Prince Edward Island.

Emergency rooms on the island are preparing for potential injuries before, during and after Fiona lands, said Dr Trevor Jain, disaster physician in the emergency department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

As people prepare for a storm, there are sometimes motor vehicle collisions, as well as injuries from accidents with ladders, he said.

“Then we see a population of patients when the hurricane actually hits and these can unfortunately be from structural collapse if the structures are not designed to withstand these winds.”

The PEI Health Care System has the ability to provide care to those who will need it during and after the storm, says Dr. Trevor Jain. (Radio Canada)

Sometimes people try to get out in a hurricane and are hit by windblown debris or fallen trees, Jain said.

“After the impact we see trauma, we see electrocution from downed power lines, people playing with power lines that they shouldn’t. Objects falling when they go to clean things, lacerations caused by chainsaws,” he said.

Shortly after storms pass, emergency rooms typically see an increase in patient numbers, Jain said, adding that sometimes people with chronic conditions need to access services they were unable to access. during a hurricane.

“Infrastructure is everything…we have talented people with EMO who have done the planning,” he said. “I would be concerned about our vulnerable populations who would be our homeless and I’m glad to see shelters popping up around the province to help them.”

Jain said he believes Prince Edward Island’s health care system has the capacity to deliver care to those who need it.

“There’s probably going to be a bit of pain next week, but we’ll get through it.”

People should stay off the roads during the hurricane, says RCMP Sgt. Chris Gunn. (CBC News: Compass)

Road safety

The PEI RCMP. reminds people that due to unpredictable weather conditions this weekend, there could be flash floods, water pooling on roads and downed power lines.

“These types of weather conditions can also affect emergency operations response time for police, fire and ambulance,” said Sgt. Chris Gunn.

“If the public doesn’t need to travel this weekend, maybe delay their travel plans to ensure their safety.”

Fire safety and generator

The PEI Office of the Fire Marshal. reminds people to make sure their fire alarms are working as well as carbon monoxide detectors due to the increase in the number of people using generators during power outages.

“If you’re using a generator, be sure to use it outside, not in a garage or basement,” said provincial fire marshal David Rossiter.

Watch out for carbon monoxide when using a generator, says Provincial Fire Marshal David Rossiter. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Generators can be used for appliances such as a freezer, but people should never use a generator to power their entire home without expert help, he said.

“You could electrocute a lineman trying to give you power. So if you’re considering using a generator to generate everything in your home, make sure it’s done by a licensed electrician.”

The fire department was in contact with all fire departments on the island on Thursday, he said.

“We envision firefighters being our eyes and ears on the ground when this storm hits, so we will hopefully get updates from them.”

Some streets may be blocked in Charlottetown with sandbags and barricades if there is localized flooding, Scott Adams, Charlottetown’s director of public works. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Securing the city’s infrastructure

The city of Charlottetown has been busy securing construction sites, removing materials that could fly in the wind and checking catch basins to try to prevent localized flooding, said Scott Adams, the city’s director of public works.

“All we can do in preparation is make sure those catch basins are clear, make sure they’re not filled with a lot of sediment, just so we have more capacity to store more water. water in the system before it overflows,” Adams said.

Trucks are also ready and public works personnel will come out with sandbags and barricades to close off any roads that could be flooded, Adams said.

Emergency generators in Summerside are checked to make sure they are full of fuel and in working order to ensure water will continue to flow in the city in the event of a power outage, Greg Gaudet said. , Director of Municipal Services for the City of Summerside.

Summerside has a fully equipped hurricane generating station that can ship diesel fuel, but it can’t meet all of the city’s needs, says Greg Gaudet, the city’s director of utilities. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

“Our electric utility… our system is quite resilient to high winds, but you never know how much damage it will take, so we have staff ready and running and we have also reached out to external partners and others utilities to consider supplementing our resources should we need them.”

Electrical crews aren’t typically dispatched to deal with outages before a storm has passed, Gaudet said.

“There is a period of time when there will be no food services other than bunkering on 911 services to make sure they work in the city,” Gaudet said, adding that the works department public is ready to respond to emergencies.

Summerside has a fully equipped hurricane generating station that can ship diesel fuel, but it cannot generate all of the city’s needs and generally electricity is supplied to areas of the city on a rotating basis, said Gaudet.

Power outages are likely on Saturday and it will be difficult to determine when power will be restored, said Kim Griffin of Maritime Electric. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Marine Electric

Maritime Electric is planning for the worst-case scenario and has adjusted its schedules to deal with potential impacts from the storm, said utility spokeswoman Kim Griffin.

“We’re planning like it’s a Dorian-plus,” she said, referring to the post-tropical storm that caused island-wide damage in 2019.

The utility is bracing for similar impacts such as downed trees and power lines, Griffin said.

Griffin said power outages are likely on Saturday and it will be difficult to determine when power will be restored.

“If we only have four or five hours of daylight to assess that, we could be in a situation where customers could still continue to be out Saturday night through Sunday,” Griffin said.

As of 10:15 p.m. Friday night, just over 1,000 Maritime Electric customers had already lost power. Maritime Electric’s outage map is updated every 10 minutes.

Additional crews from Newfoundland and Ontario are arriving to assist local crews, Griffin said.

While it’s unclear exactly what Fiona will bring to the island, everyone should prepare for the worst, Griffin said.

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