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Kensington working toward power outage protocol, establishing warming station

The Town of Kensington is determined to be ready for the next major power outage. Mayor, council and staff are working with the Kensington United Church and the Murray Christian Centre to establish a warming centre in the facility as well as an emergency protocol specific to situations like the Nov. 29 storm.
The Town of Kensington is determined to be ready for the next major power outage. Mayor, council and staff are working with the Kensington United Church and the Murray Christian Centre to establish a warming centre in the facility as well as an emergency protocol specific to situations like the Nov. 29 storm. - Millicent McKay

KENSINGTON – After the recent winter storm that left most Islanders without power for several hours, the Town of Kensington is preparing for future weather events by establishing a new plan and a warming centre location.

Kensington Mayor Rowan Caseley.
Kensington Mayor Rowan Caseley.

The power was out from about 9 a.m. until well into the evening of Nov. 29.

“And just as we were planning where to organize a warming station, the power came on,” said Kensington Mayor Rowan Caseley.

On Monday, at the first council meeting of the new term, mayor and council reviewed what options are available if another extended power outage occurs.

“Really at the time the only place to go would be the fire hall. Which is great, but if they need to move their trucks outside in below freezing temperatures in order to house people in need, well that can cause an issue if there is an emergency,” said Caseley.

During the outage, Caseley spent a portion of the day at the town hall with the police chief examining what protocols were in place.

“We already have (a protocol) if a truck were to roll over at the main intersection and the load is lost, or if there is a spill and we need to evacuate an area, but we didn’t have one that would answer the question of ‘what do we do and where do we go if we lose power?’”

“While I spent most of the day at home with my kids surrounded by candlelight, there was this feeling that I should have been doing something. So, every now and again I’d hop in my car and just drive around without a destination in mind to see if there was anything I could do.”
-Kensington CAO Geoff Baker

The town’s chief administrative officer, Geoff Baker, described the day as stressful.

“While I spent most of the day at home with my kids surrounded by candlelight, there was this feeling that I should have been doing something. So, every now and again I’d hop in my car and just drive around without a destination in mind to see if there was anything I could do.”

Caseley agreed.

“We both said that we feel responsible to help and ensure the safety of our residents, but also those in surrounding areas who have lost power and need a place to go.”

Caseley decided to approach Kensington United Church, which operates the Murray Christian Centre next door.

He said the organization seemed on board with the idea of the centre acting as the location for a warming centre.

“We could provide backup power by securing a generator and then organize a protocol," Baker said. "Of when we open the centre, for how long, what needs to be available in the warming station, etc.”

millicent.mckay@journalpioneer.com
Twitter: @JPMillicentMcK
Instagram: @millicentleemckay

Related: Major winter storm leaves much of Atlantic Canada without power, shuts schools

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