Editor's note: The following information comes from Chester County Department of Emergency Services.
With the possibility of Hurricane Sandy’s arrival in the region in the next few days, Chester County emergency management officials strongly recommend preparation and planning by residents and businesses to potentially reduce damage. During a hurricane, homes and businesses, public buildings, roads and power lines may be damaged or destroyed by high winds and floodwaters. Roads and bridges can be washed away by flash flooding or blocked debris.
“The first thing we recommend is to keep informed about where the storm is and where it is headed, by listening to your radio and television or viewing web-based weather sites for the projected storm path,” said Chester County Deputy Director for Emergency Management Bobby Kagel.
Hurricane Watch means there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours. Hurricane Warning means that a hurricane is expected to strike your area within 24 hours or less with sustained winds of 74 mph or more and dangerously high water.
In the event of a power outage, Chester County emergency management officials remind residents they should not call 9-1-1. Instead, they should call their local electric company:
PECO – 1-800-841-4141.
PPL – 1-800-342-5775
Met Ed/First Energy – 1-888-544-4877
Chester County residents are also reminded to prepare for prolonged power outages, noting specifically to have:
- Flashlights with fresh batteries
- A battery-operated radio with fresh batteries and extra supply of batteries
- Fully charged cell phones and laptops.
- Blankets and warm clothing available to keep warm during power outages.
Other items to have available are a first-aid kit, non-perishable canned food (and a non-electric can opener), bottled water and essential medicines - enough to last least three days. Also stock up on enough food and water for pets.
Before the Hurricane Warning has been issued, bring in outdoor furniture, toys, or garden items. If they cannot be brought indoors, anchor these objects so that winds can’t toss them around.
For residents who are in an area that is prone to flooding, be prepared to leave if officials tell you to evacuate. Keep family cars fueled. Pack a bag with clothing, sturdy shoes, essential medicines, extra cash and credit cards, flash lights and extra batteries. Make arrangements for pets as many emergency shelters will not allow pets in for health reasons.
“If Chester County is badly affected by Hurricane Sandy, it will not be as overwhelming if you have a plan,” added Bobby Kagel.
For more information on disaster planning go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency website at www.fema.gov . the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency website atwww.pema.state.pa.us, or the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org.
For regular updates and advice during a major weather incident in Chester County, visit the County’s website, www.chesco.org/des or visit the Chester County Department of Emergency Services facebook page.