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NBEMO encourages residents to prepare for Lee

By Joe Thomson Sep 14, 2023 | 6:16 AM

New Brunswickers need to be prepared for the potential impacts of tropical cyclone Lee, according to emergency officials.

The storm is expected to bring heavy rain and strong winds to much of the province over the weekend.

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NBEMO) said people should start preparing for worst-case scenarios and hoping for the best.

Geoffrey Downey, spokesperson for NBEMO, said the biggest mistake people make when preparing for a hurricane is not taking it seriously.

“It’s really either people being willfully ignorant, or just thinking maybe they have more time than they really do. It’s not taking the threat seriously that tends to be the big problem,” said Downey.

There are still a couple days before Lee is expected to reach the province and Downey said people should spend that time clearing debris from their yards, such as branches and patio furniture.

Another thing people should start doing is assembling 72-hour emergency kits in advance of the storm.

Downey said the kits should have essential items like food, water, batteries, portable chargers for important devices, wind-up flashlights and radio, and maybe even gasoline. He also said each person’s kit could look different depending on their situation.

“It also depends on what your specific circumstances are. If you have an infant well you probably need diapers, if you are being treated for an illness with specific medication, you need that medication. If you have pets, you probably need food,” said Downey.

He said to think of it like going to an empty cottage for a week: What are all the items you would need to get by?

Another point Downey wanted to emphasize is that once the storm has passed, the danger hasn’t.

“The real danger isn’t always necessarily during this kind of weather event, but thereafter. Power outages are certainly a possibility and we’ve seen some tragedies in the past with people not using generators properly,” said Downey.

“If the power does go out and you need to use a generator, make sure to use it safely. If you haven’t used your generator in a while, now is probably a good time to check it out and make sure it’s in good working order.”