In preparation for Hurricane Bill, the Emergency Management Office is encouraging Nova Scotians to stay safe and be ready for potential flooding, storm surges and hurricane-force winds. “We just want to remind Nova Scotians to be careful and take precautions,” said Emergency Management Minister Ramona Jennex. “Being prepared will help keep themselves, their families and their loved ones safe.” Residents in flood-prone areas should take measures to protect themselves and their property. They should move furniture and belongings away from possible flood water, secure property that might be swept away or damaged by a flood, and pile sandbags along shorelines abutting property. They should also secure objects that could be torn loose or blown around. Storm surges often accompany hurricanes and along with the highest tides expected this weekend, can create tremendous damage, severe flooding and force evacuations. Getting caught near the shoreline during a storm surge could be life-threatening, and dangerous riptides are expected off the shores of Nova Scotia. It is important that people take measures to protect themselves, their family and their property. To prepare for a storm-surge or flood-related emergency, there are a number of things that can be done in advance: In the event of flooding or power outages, officials from the Department of Agriculture suggest people be careful about foods in refrigerators or deep freeze units. Foods will generally stay safe in a refrigerator for several hours even without power, especially if the door is kept closed. For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit EMO’s website at www.gov.ns.ca/emo . Prepare an emergency supply kit that includes food, a supply of drinkable water, clothing, blankets, medication, flashlight and a first aid kit. Include any important documents and a list of your property and personal items. Listen for warnings. Include battery-operated or crank radio in emergency kits to check for weather warnings in the event a storm surge is forecast. Develop a family plan. Agree on a location to meet if separated during an emergency and make sure to know emergency plans for schools, offices, daycare and other places where family members spend time. Know how to turn off water, gas and electricity in case instructed to do so by local officials. If the main power box is not in a dry, safe area, do not try to turn off the electricity. Contact Nova Scotia Power at 902-428-6004 or 1-877-428-6004 for instructions. Using candles is not recommended, but if you must use them, make sure they are properly supported — use a non-combustible container that is larger than the candle. Keep materials at least half a metre (two feet) away from candles. Extinguish all candles before leaving the room. Put the correct fuel in portable appliances like Coleman stoves or oil lamps. Substituting fuels is extremely dangerous. Propane and liquid camp stoves are for outdoor use only. Generators should be operated in well-ventilated locations outdoors away from doors, windows and vent openings. They should be placed so that exhaust fumes cannot enter the home through windows, doors or other building openings. Generators must be certified and connected to the electrical system of a house by a construction electrician. They should be used to power equipment such as lights, portable electric heaters and a water pump and other equipment that may be connected directly by plug to the generator.