Why prolonged power cuts could mean health problems for some islanders IG News

Irshadgul News report,

With Hurricane Fiona approaching the shores of PEI, home-care provider Monica Thomas has become a delivery driver this week – traveling the island, leaving large oxygen tanks to customers.

Many people with lung conditions such as COPD and pulmonary fibrosis rely on plug-in home oxygen machines to breathe.

“So when there is this expectation of prolonged power outages, we want to make sure our people are ready at home. This primarily means providing them with a backup oxygen tank, not dependent on the source of power is,” she said.

“In urban areas, we try maybe 24 hours’ worth of oxygen. Outside, in rural areas, we probably watch for 48 hours more. Then hopefully we can get back on the road if there’s a power outage. For longer than that … and supply oxygen as they need it.”

Thomas says that with a large supply of tanks ready for delivery, his company is better prepared than ever to cover customers.

lessons from dorian

When Hurricane Dorian struck in 2019, parts of the island were out of power for several days, they nearly fled, and they had to arrange last-minute deliveries.

“We know these storms are getting more powerful, so we’re getting more prepared, to make sure we have more oxygen in our offices so that we can supply [they] needed,” she said.

Woman runs oxygen tank under sidewalk.
Monica Thomas says her company has a huge supply of tanks ready for delivery these days, with 2019 almost ending in Dorian’s wake. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

“Sometimes it may be necessary to call EMS when there is low oxygen at home. We hope that doesn’t happen.”

Thomas notes that Dorian inspired some of his customers to buy power generators for their homes to ensure that the critical machines continued to function.

‘It gives me peace of mind’

Christie J, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, has done the same.

“It gives me peace of mind,” he said of his generator. “I want to use a [plug-in] Nebulizer daily for my breathing medicine. So if the power goes out and I miss that, my lungs are more at risk of becoming congested and possibly getting cold or sick.

“So we like to make sure we have the power, for sure.”

Woman holds inhaler-type device.
Christie J., who has cystic fibrosis, uses a plug-in nebulizer machine to administer the drug as a gauze to help her lungs use it more efficiently. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Jay said he is concerned about other people with cystic fibrosis and other conditions who do not have a generator.

“I know a lot of people don’t have that luxury, so it’s worrying,” she said.

‘Buddy System’ Recommended

PEI’s Office of Public Safety says islanders with special health needs should establish a personal support network – including friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers and health care providers.

“If you rely on any life-sustaining equipment or if you require regular attendant care, ask people identified in your personal support network or friend system if an emergency occurs and special Please check on you immediately if there is an emergency plan during a power outage,” the provincial office said in a statement.

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