Update from the Emergency Management Office

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The province's Emergency Management Office issued an update this morning on the cleanup efforts after Hurricane Dorian crashed through the Maritimes yesterday.

In the release, EMO officials are asking Nova Scotians to stay off the roads and to stay away from downed power lines so crews can remove trees and restore the lines, though the Halifax Harbour Bridges are now open.

Flights into and out of Halifax Stanfield International Airport have been cancelled up to 9:30 this morning, with travelers encouraged to check with the airport or their airline before setting off.

Nova Scotians who need to use a comfort center are asked to call 211 to find one nearest to them, and there are three shelters that are open in the Halifax Regional Municipality, at Canada Games Centre, Dartmouth Community Centre and St. Margaret's Centre.

As of shortly before 10:00 a.m. Sunday, Nova Scotia Power is reporting more than 373,000 people without power.

EMO officials are warning food in fridges and freezers can become unsafe and flood water can also affect food safety risks.

The Emergency Information page of the provincial government's website says refrigerated foods will generally stay safe for 4-6 hours, while frozen foods in a fully stocked freezer will stay frozen for 2 days while a half-filled freezer will remain frozen for a day. The doors to fridges and freezers should remain closed as much as possible.

Most foods with visible ice crystals and at temperatures of less than 4C are safe to be refrozen or cooked and perishable foods that have been cooked should be consumed as soon as possible after they are prepared.

Foods contaminated by flood water and that are wrapped and stored in paper, platic cloth, fiber or cardboard should be discarded, while all foods with containers that have screw caps, snap lids and pull tops should be discarded.

The province says only commercially sealed, unopened, undamaged, waterproof, artight jars or metal cans can be considered safe once they are cleaned and sanitized before opening.

In terms of water from untreated, non-municipal water sources, like lakes, rivers and streams, residents should boil their water for one minute before consumption and consuming this water is not recommended under normal circumstances.

In a tweet, the Town of Oxford says customers of the Oxford Water Utility are advised that the cholorination plant for water treatment is not operating, and as such water needs to be heated to a rolling boil for at least a minute prior to use until further notice.

EMO officials warn that well pumps in homes that are flooded can cause electrocution and generators, BBQs, charcoal grills should never be used indoors or inside garages, even if the doors and windows are open due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.