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The trees were thick with ice, electric poles were down across the province and hundreds of Islanders were left in the dark and cold, but Barb Mullally didn't blink an eye when she got the call for aid. As a disaster management trainer and co-ordinator, last winter's ice storm was just the kind of emergency event Mullally has been trained to help handle. She put in 14-hour days helping stranded Islanders as Maritime Electric crews worked to restore downed power lines. And with more than 300 damaged utility poles throughout central and western Prince Edward Island, it took the utility seven days to get the power restored. And throughout, 20 trained disaster management volunteers for Canadian Red Cross on P.E.I. were there to hand out 800 blankets, set up 400 cots and help communities through the days of dark and cold. "The devastation on the roads was unbelievable and the desperation," Mullally said. "As a Canadian Red Cross volunteer when you're present, people say, ‘Oh you're here. Thank goodness!' It's that sigh of relief." Still, Mullally said she couldn't believe how well some places coped with going days without heat or power in the dead of winter. "People want to do it and look after themselves but don't necessarily have the knowledge and the know-how of what they need to do and that's where we come in." The Red Cross helped establish and equip 11 comfort centres and helped with the logistics of securing and delivering nearly 1,000 meals and 600 cases of water. As a result of the ice storm, Mullally said she believes more Islanders are prepared for unpredictable emergencies. And that's just what the Canadian Red Cross hopes Islanders have learned by this weather event because storms, hurricanes, floods and other weather disasters are on the rise. "Emergency events will get larger and longer, that's what the new intelligence on disaster management is telling us," said John Byrne, general manager for the local Canadian Red Cross. That's why the Canadian Red Cross is starting now to try to promote being ready for anything this winter. Byrne said everyone should have an emergency preparedness kit and a plan so they can deal with the first 72 hours of an unforeseen tragedy or disaster. But even this is not enough if people are not being proactive, Byrne said. He pointed to a number of worrying trends the Red Cross has discovered that are putting people at risk. A recent survey it conducted shows 37 per cent of people disable fire detectors that go off repeatedly, 23 per cent of people believe it's OK to leave a stove on with nobody home, and 17 per cent of people this winter plan to rely on stove or oven heat for warmth. These are disasters waiting to happen, said Bill Lawlor, director of disaster management and international services for Canadian Red Cross Atlantic. "I think there's often basic things like being aware of hazards that may be in your own household that will help prevent a tragedy," he said. But for those that do end up dealing with a personal or weather-related disaster, Red Cross volunteers are ready and willing to help. "For me to be part of this and gain some experience doing this is great and totally fulfilling," Mullally said. "We all help each other."
Emergency Kit: Here are just some items you should have in an emergency kit in your home and vehicle to be prepared should disaster strike: - Two litres of drinking water per person per day; - Non-perishable canned and dried foods, can opener; - Change of clothing and footwear per person; - Copies of essential family documents; - First aid supplies; - Flashlights and extra batteries; - Candle and holder; - Cash; - Useful tools such as a shovel, knife, pliers and screwdriver. Source: www.redcross.ca
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.