Cape Breton Regional Municipality is considering designating comfort centres in each community to help citizens in the event of a storm that knocks out power.
Deputy mayor James Edwards made the suggestion on Tuesday, saying citizens would be safer if they knew ahead of time where to go.
"In light of the devastating effects of Hurricane Fiona, it is imperative that we ... take proactive steps to prepare for future events, weather or otherwise, for which our residents may need short- or long-term comfort assistance," he said.
After Fiona in September, many were left without power, internet and phone service. Edwards went without electricity for two weeks.
CBRM opened up to a dozen comfort centres around the municipality, but had to make daily online posts indicating which locations were open and used the province's emergency alert system to send the details to people's cellphones.
Current system not helpful for some
He said that was not helpful for people without electricity or communications.
"This initiative would eliminate that problem."
Edwards suggested the municipality designate fire stations in each community as comfort centres and help them access provincial grants to buy and install generators.
Some councillors worried that some volunteer firefighters might be unwilling or unable to provide that kind of service, but Edwards said other community groups with buildings could be approached.
Councillors voted unanimously to have staff write an issue paper on the feasibility of the idea.
Coun. Steve Gillespie said the most recent devastating weather event showed the need for at least one centre in every community.
"One of the things we really learned from Fiona is when hundred-foot [tall], six-foot-thick trees fall down and block the roads around you, getting from Westmount to Centre 200 is impossible," Gillespie said.
Coun. Lorne Greene said citizens would have been better off after Fiona if they were told in advance where the nearest comfort centre was located.
Bruce MacDonald, the municipality's emergency manager, said some fire stations and community groups have already begun seeking provincial funding for generators.
He said CBRM is supporting them in their applications and staff would consult with each volunteer fire department to see if they'd be interested.
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