Can you survive in your home, sheltering in place, for 72 hours?
With a significant late season Colorado Low set to bear down on Southern Manitoba, Altona's municipal emergency coordinator says it's important that people prepare to be self-sufficient in the event of an emergency.
"We say, 'the first 72 is on you'," said Perry Batchelor. "Emergency crews are going to be dealing with their own situations and, not only trying to staff positions, but also move around the community. In the event that we have a storm like we had in '97, for those of you that can remember that storm, mobility was a huge issue."
In order to sufficiently answer that question, it takes preparation. For example, putting together an emergency preparedness kit.
"Do you have sufficient medication to see you through those 72 hours? Water. The rule of thumb is four litres per person, per day. That could be as simple as a case of bottled water," explained Batchelor. "Canned goods, make sure you have a manual can opener just in case the power is out. Make sure you think about your pets. Do you have pet food for 72 hours?"
Batteries are also a good thing to have on hand.
"Make sure your cellphone and electronics are charged and keep them on the charger. In the event that power goes off, you'll have full batteries on your devices," added Batchelor.
If the power ends up out for a prolonged period of time, Batchelor warns against bringing in propane heaters and other appliances, like barbecues, to heat your home. Instead, he says to pick a room in your home and shelter in place there until the power comes back on.
And while we've had some snow melt over the last few weeks, Batchelor says it's also good to check that your exterior furnace vents are clear of snow.
"It's stuff like that to be thinking about as we move through, hopefully, our last storm of the year."
It was around this time last year when heavy spring rains combined with snow melt created dangerous high-water events throughout the region, including in Altona where teams worked for days to protect the town while managing an overwhelmed wastewater system.
Batchelor offered his level of concern as the region looks to see 15 to 25 cms of heavy snow fall by Thursday morning.
"We haven't got it on the ground yet. The concern will probably start once we see just exactly how much snow we've gotten and what the impact could be, but certainly we're prepared. We have several thousands of unfilled sandbags; we have access to sand and poly. Our Public Works and fire teams, and the entire local emergency response committee, did an outstanding job last year of protecting our community, and if we need to activate and get into flood proofing, we'll definitely do that."
Batchelor added, now is also a good time to register for Altona's emergency alert system, Connect, which allows the Town to communicate with you directly via email, text and landline in the event of an emergency.