(TLN) Last week as Ice Storm 2019 faded into memory, the City of Laval reported that during the last 72 hours of the crisis, up to half Laval’s residents were affected by major electric power blackouts caused by accumulated ice and trees which had fallen.
As of last Thursday, 1,179 Hydro Quebec clients were still waiting to be reconnected. In the district of Vimont, the Lausanne community centre remained open up to last Thursday night at 11 pm taking in residents whose homes were dark and cold because they didn’t have electric power.
At the height of the crisis, when 200 calls per hour were being received at Laval’s 9-1-1 centre, Laval’s firemen, police, forestry experts, road repair crews and health personnel were all working together.
In all, the Laval Fire Department completed 796 emergency interventions for outdoor fires, security concerns, alarms and reports of flooding. The Laval Police Department made regular patrols with roof flashers switched on in sectors of Laval that were without electricity in order to reassure residents and assist those in need.
Special safety checks
In addition, staff from the Laval Fire Department also made 1,277 visits to residences occupied by retired and elderly people to check they were safe and their fire alarm systems were working. The Laval Police for their part watched key intersections carefully during rush hours for accidents, especially at intersections where traffic lights were out of order.
Employees of the City of Laval’s 3-1-1 public works line answered nearly 5,300 calls. Those calling to report lengthy power outages were told they could seek shelter from the cold at two Laval community centres where nearly 300 people took up the offer. Showers were available and meals were served. More than 100 residents spent the night on cots that were set up. Laval’s public libraries also saw an increase in use during the period of the ice storm.
A job well done
“Over the last few days we were able to see for ourselves the incredible efficiency of our employees,” said Mayor Marc Demers. “From the beginning of the blackouts, our teams were deployed quickly to take care of residents who had problems. They showed themselves to be very professional and devoted without ever stopping. I would thus like to thank them warmly for their efforts up to now and for those remaining to be done. We can all be proud of the work accomplished.”
According to the city, the Accès community centre in Laval-Ouest and the Lausanne community centre in Vimont are returning to their regular schedules of activities after serving last week as emergency shelters.
In the meantime, a big cleanup is underway and the city is offering to cart away branches gathered from private properties free of charge. The city also says that the usual cost for a permit authorizing the cutting of a tree is waived. However, requests for both these services must be made by April 19 by calling 3-1-1.