Comfort Centre (Warming/Cooling Centre) - Neighbors helping Neighbors
What is a Comfort Centre?During disasters and emergencies the standard for residents to be prepared to provide for themselves is at least 72 Hours. However, there may be times due to time and current circumstances before the 72 Hour period has passed; for example, a long power outage along with extreme winter temperatures. In these circumstances decisions may be made to open a “Comfort Centre(s)”. A “Comfort Centre” is sometimes also referred to as a “Warming Centre”.
We live in rural Nova Scotia, which means we can rely on our neighbours. It also means some of us are isolated and may have to be self-sufficient for an extended period of time if an emergency strikes. Preparing for 72 hours is a way that you can assure self-sufficiency when you need it most. How does one prepare for three days? Check out these links for tips/ideas on 72 Hour preparedness:
What is a Comfort Centre?
A comfort centre is a community hall or fire hall that is opened up in a time of need to provide a location where community members can gather for a short period of time during the day.
In Nova Scotia neighbors help neighbors. When the need arises, these centres are opened up by the operators of the facility. Community members take the lead on organizing and operating the Comfort Centre. These centres are operated by the community for the community.
Each comfort centre may have varied times that they will be open and closed to the public. Comfort Centres are independently operated by volunteers, which means they could open within hours of an emergency or after 72 hours. The call is entirely theirs. If crisis continues, and depending on what type it is, the Municipality might declare a Local State of Emergency where an Emergency Coordination Centre is activated, and agencies like the Red Cross are deployed. At this stage, shelters might be considered for possible overnight accommodations for residents affected by the crisis.
What does a Comfort Centre provide?
Comfort Centres may provide different services depending on resources available. However, all comfort centres are intended to provide a place to:
- place to get warm
- re-charge devices
- use washroom
- get a warm drink
- check on each other, and share information
- get updates on weather and power resumption
• Light snacks and/or food prepared by volunteers
• A space for community members to prepare their own food
What does a Comfort Centre NOT provide?
A comfort centre is NOT an overnight shelter.
What is required to make a good Comfort Centre?
- a good size pool of active volunteers
- active volunteers with the food handling safety course
- water supply shall be registered with the Dept. of Environment if on a non-municipal well system. It must be tested regularly (records kept)
- back-up power supply and tested regularly
- septic system serviced regularly
- some volunteers trained in first aid/cpr
- availability in shoulder seasons for hurricanes and winter storms by having supplies on hand (fuel for generator, important information, etc.)
- protocols for opening the comfort centre to ensure safety of volunteers and the public (e.g. road conditions are considered)
- Accessibility for all
How do I know if a comfort centre is open in my area?
Where to find information on whether the Comfort Centre has been activated
- Annapolis REMO will share via
- Annapolis REMO webpage via County of Annapolis website
- Annapolis REMO Twitter
- Annapolis REMO – subscribe to News
- County of Annapolis Facebook
- Nova Scotia 211- 211 Nova Scotia will post a list of comfort centres once they start opening during the time of a storm. For more information, visit http://ns.211.ca/emergency or call 2-1-1
- Local Radio
- AVR 97.7/Magic 94.9
- rewind 89.3
- CBC Nova Scotia
- EMO Nova Scotia will share
- Canadian Red Cross - If you have been affected by a personal disaster and require assistance, contact the Red Cross: 1-800-222-9597
- Contact your local hall - check in with your local fire hall and/or community hall to see if they operate as a comfort centre in the time of community emergency or disasters.
Click here for a list of Annapolis County Community Halls
Note: Comfort Centres are not maintained and operated by the Municipality of the County of Annapolis or the Towns of Annapolis Royal and Middleton. You should contact your local community hall and/or fire hall ahead of a storm to see their intentions of opening for an expected storm. The decision to open and close a Comfort Centre is at the discretion of the Community Hall or Fire Hall volunteer group/board as they operate and maintain these buildings.
Are you interested in becoming a comfort centre/community hall volunteer or fire department volunteer?
Dating back for centuries, citizens of the communities of Annapolis County volunteered their, time, skills and resources to establish community hall and fire halls.
Today, these Community Halls and Fire Halls continue to be solely operated by volunteer committees and their teams of dedicated and hardworking volunteers. Volunteers are needed so that Community Halls and Fire Halls can continue to offer various programs, services and events.
New volunteers are always needed to assist with everyday duties, at events or to be a part of the Board. Whether you have a few hours or many hours to lend a hand, there’s likely some way in which a Community Halls and Fire Hall can use your assistance!
REASONS TO VOLUNTEER
Meet new people; make new friends; have fun; use your skills; your community needs you; take an active role in your community; make a difference; volunteer work looks great on a resume.