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Comfort Centres and Preparing for 72 Hours

We live in rural Nova Scotia, which means we can rely on our neighbours. It also means some of us are isolated and may have to be self-sufficient for an extended period of time if an emergency strikes. Preparing for 72 hours is a way that you can assure self-sufficiency when you need it most. How does one prepare for three days? There are numerous checklists online if you want to research it. Here's what they suggest:

  • a personal support network list including name, relation, address, and numbers
  • at least six litres of water per person (2 litres per day)
  • food that won't spoil, like canned and dry foods
  • a manual can opener
  • first-aid supplies
  • allergy medications and special needs or equipment you use
  • a list of your prescription medicines with their prescription number and purpose
  • pharmacy information
  • pet care
  • at least a three-day supply of your prescription medicines
  • wind-up or battery-powered flashlight
  • wind-up or battery-powered radio
  • batteries for your flashlight and radio
  • extra keys for your house and car
  • money in small bills
  • copies of important papers like your driver's licence, health card, birth certificate, and insurance policies

It is not usually until after 72 hours that municipalities consider taking further action. Unless there is imminent danger to residents, such as fire or gas leak, we won't usually evacuate or declare a state of emergency within the 72-hour window. Having said that, there are several comfort centres throughout the Municipality; at least one in each District. These centres provide a place for residents to warm up, charge their phones, have a cup of tea or coffee, heat up dinner, or get updates on the emergency. They don't generally provide overnight accommodations, meals, or shower facilities. If a comfort centre opens, and the Municipality is aware of it, we will post it on our social media channels and on our website. You can also contact the centre directly.

These Centres can partner with the Municipality and other organizations during an event to help residents. Comfort Centres are independently operated by volunteers, which means they could open within hours of an emergency or after 72 hours. The call is entirely theirs. If  crisis continues, and depending on what type it is, the Municipality might declare a State of Emergency where an Operations Centre is activated, and agencies like the Red Cross are deployed. At this stage, shelters might be considered for possible overnight accommodations for residents affected by the crisis. If you are unsure of where the Comfort Centre is in your community, contact your Councillor.