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Learn to survive the Dark Ages for 72 hours

Mike Johnson, Emergency Management Office (EMO) officer for the Municipality of Cumberland County, gives a presentation about emergency preparedness Tuesday in Tidnish.
Mike Johnson, Emergency Management Office (EMO) officer for the Municipality of Cumberland County, gives a presentation about emergency preparedness Tuesday in Tidnish.

UPPER NAPPAN – People sometimes panic when the power goes out for three minutes, but what if the power goes out for three days, or worse, for three weeks?

“We’re connected in so many ways. If that connection is severed tomorrow there’s a level of anxiety that begins to rise up because people don’t know what’s going on, they can’t reach out to their family and friends, and it creates a lot of anxiety in today’s world. You don’t feel connected,” said Mike Johnson, Emergency Management Office (EMO) officer for the Municipality of Cumberland County.

He says that kind of anxiety didn’t exist 100 years ago.

“One hundred years ago we didn’t have that problem. People would be without power, sometimes, for two or three weeks at a time and it wouldn’t mean anything. They were self-sufficient. That’s what we need people to get back to.”

Johnson gives talks throughout Cumberland County about emergency preparedness. On Tuesday he gave a talk to a group of citizens in Tidnish.

Whether it’s because of fire, flood, a storm, or some sort of man-made disaster, “people should have their emergency kit and be prepared to look after themselves or be self-reliant for a 72-hour period,” said Johnson.

He says 72 hours provides emergency officials the opportunity to assess the size of the situation, decide what is needed, where and how to get resources, and where the resources need to go.

Cumberland County has a population of 30,000 people, and Johnson says there might be a total of 200 first responders in the entire county.

“When you look at even 5,000 people that need help we don’t have the necessary resources to help everybody at once, so everything will go into a priority case,” said Johnson. “You look after the highest priority cases first. In the meantime people need to be able to look after themselves.”

Johnson estimates that about 20 per cent of citizens in Cumberland County have a 72-hour emergency kit.

He would like to see that number rise to at least 75 per cent.

“If we were to get to 75 per cent of our citizens in Cumberland County having an emergency kit equipped with what they need to look after themselves for 72 hours, we would be one of the best prepared groups of citizens in Nova Scotia.”

He says parts of Quebec are better prepared than most people in North America.

“When the ice storm hit Quebec and all the power went out for one month, if we went to Quebec today in the areas impacted by that ice storm I bet everybody has an emergency kit and is prepared to look after themselves for a very long time.”

Johnson has given emergency preparedness presentations across Cumberland County for several years now, and hopes to give many more.

Any group wanting a presentation can call Johnson at 902-667-3746 or call the Municipality of Cumberland County at 902-667-2313.

An emergency kit includes the following:

Non-perishable food

Bottled water

Manual can opener

Radio with batteries or wind up

Extra batteries

First aid kit

Cash in small bills and coins

Spare house and car keys

Emergency plan

Emergency phone list

Prescription medications

Spare clothes, footwear

Personal Toiletries

Signaling whistle

Garbage bags

Duct tape

Plastic sheet/tarpaulin

Light rope

Basic tools (wrench, pliers, etc.)

Small shovel or spade

Fire extinguisher

Dust masks

Paper, pens, pencils

Map of local area

Board game or cards

Pet supplies if required

Specialized needs for infants, seniors, etc.

Key documents such as ID and insurance

Updated purchase property/tenant insurance

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