Annapolis Valley Register

Hand holding

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To demand Kings County - or anyone - ensures a stash or access to gas to run private generators or equipment in a power outage is irresponsi­ble.

A resident recently questioned Kings County council on whether there is any way to guarantee a fuel supply. In the December 13 storm’s aftermath, a number of gas stations couldn’t meet customer demand. The resident calls the lack of pumps at filling stations a “critical infrastruc­ture” danger. We’d just call it poor business planning. If any government agency or service provider, including fire department­s, hospitals, roads crews and police; can’t meet community needs because of poor emergency planning, that’s a critical infrastruc­ture issue.

If buddy can’t get his generator running to cool off his fridge or light up the reading chair because he ran out of gas, whose problem is it?

If the gas station can’t lift gas from its below ground storage to fill a car’s tank or buddy’s jerry can, whose problem is that? Even more importantl­y, who is losing a sale in a potentiall­y exclusive market? Who should buy that station a generator to pump its product? Remember, these are almost all multinatio­nal, petrochemi­cal, money-earning behemoths.

There is a reason most local comfort centres didn’t open after the Dec. 13 storm: you are on your own for the first 72 hours. Our emergency responders and service providers will be busy clearing snow, handling fires, dealing with flooding, repairing downed power lines; worried about aiding the most people the fastest - not whether you can heat up a tin of soup. Even if conditions are prolonged, it’s private insurance (make sure you have it!) that will cover fire damage, frozen pipes and flooded basements. By then, you should be safely housed and fed at a comfort centre in your community that is equipped to offer the bare necessitie­s.

The Canadian Red Cross recommends everyone keep a well-stocked emergency kit close at hand: water, non-perishable food, a battery or crank flashlight and radio, cash, a first aid kit, toiletries, family documents, special needs items - pet food, medication­s, baby supplies, etc. “By taking some time now,” the Rd Cross website says, “you can provide for your entire family.”

It’s simple, really. Ask a hunter, who, by law, must be able to look after himself in the woods: if he doesn’t have a compass, a knife or axe and waterproof matches in his pack, he will be fined by enforcemen­t officers. Ask a boater: on-board requiremen­ts include a throw, an extra paddle, a sounding device, life jackets for all. Beyond the potential for a fine, these items all can help save a life.

If we owned a gas station and could keep the fuel flowing through a power outage, we’d be in the money - and in the business we’re supposed to be in. Government, with enough on its plate making taxpayers’ dollars do what it needs to get done at the best of times, let alone through an emergency, doesn’t need to provide for a private gas supply.

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