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P.E.I. fire marshal stresses fire and power line safety following Fiona

Thursday, October 6th 2022, 4:01 pm - 'If they smell smoke or something like rubber burning, anything like that, make the call right away'

As crews work tirelessly to restore power and clean up debris following post-tropical storm Fiona, firefighters have also been working around the clock responding to hundreds of calls.

Although it's starting to die down now, there have been more than 740 fire response calls across the Island since the storm hit, according to P.E.I. Fire Marshal Dave Rossiter.

(CBC) fire truck summerside pei P.E.I.'s fire marshal says there have been more than 740 fire response calls across the Island since the storm. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"At the height of the storm they were doing rescues. They're rescuing people out of homes that were being flooded. They were responding to some major fires," he said.

"In some cases, they were using chainsaws and tractors and loaders to clear a path."

While some calls were related to the storm itself, he said some others came during power restoration where appliances had been left on.

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"We were very fortunate in this storm," he said. "Because of the time when the power went out across the province ... a lot of people weren't running stoves and all that. But we did manage to have a few of those kick in."

Try to be home when power restored

Rossiter said it's ideal to be at home when your power is restored so you can keep an eye on your property, and check electrical appliances and systems.

"I know it's next to impossible in some cases, but try and be there."

"If you see sparks call emergency crews immediately ... if they smell smoke or something like rubber burning, anything like that — make the call right away," he said.

"Better to be safe than sorry."

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Avoid downed power lines 'like the plague'

If there are downed electrical lines of any kind in an area, Rossiter said it's crucial to avoid them at all costs.

"The vast majority of these are back online so I mean the likelihood if it's an electrical line that could be live is pretty high right now," he said.

"Avoid them like the plague, stay clear of them. The last thing we need is to have an electrocution."

Overall, Rossiter said Island firefighters have gone above and beyond under very difficult circumstances.

"Our Island fire service really stepped up on this one," he said. "I can't say how proud we are of them and how much they've done."

With files from Angela Walker

This story was originally published by CBC News on October 6, 2022.

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