Another weekend, another – sigh – storm forecast

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County emergency officials are offering reminder tips for coping

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the National Weather Service (NWS) and many commercial weather services predicting that another significant winter storm may be heading to Chester County, the Chester County Department of Emergency Services has issued some reminders:

Only use 9-1-1 for life-threatening emergencies.

Do not call 9-1-1 to report power outages or to ask when your power will be restored.  Contact PECO at 800-841-4141 or www.peco.com,  PPL at 1-800-342-5775 or www.pplelectric.com, and Met Ed at 888-544-4877 or www.firstenergycorp.com. Similarly, 9-1-1 is not the source for state road conditions, which are available by calling PennDot at 511 or visiting  www.511pa.com.  Finally, information about when your road will be plowed rests with your local municipality; number are listed in the blue pages of the telephone book.

Plan for the storm.

Every family, business, and organization should have a disaster plan that will enable functioning for at least 72 hours if outside assistance is not available.

If the power goes out, shelters may be opened, but a better, short-term option may be to stay with friends or relatives or even consider getting a hotel room for a couple of nights.

Also, if you have a job or employees who absolutely must be at work, now is when you should make arrangements for all-weather transportation.

Be careful driving.

Icy conditions, reduced visibility, and high snow piles at intersections pose hazards.  If you have to travel, give snowplows plenty of room.  If you don’t have to be on the roads, stay home.

Be careful shoveling snow.

Warm up and stretch before, don’t overexert, be careful with and follow all safety instructions with snow blowers, shovel out fire hydrants, and don’t throw the snow back into the road.

Check on family and neighbors.

Pay particular attention to the elderly and those who live alone.

Be careful with alternate heating sources.

Do not use charcoal grills, propane grills or any other similar device for heating or cooking if your power is out.  These types of devices cause carbon monoxide that is a dangerous, invisible, odorless gas, and has sent several people to area hospitals in recent weeks.

A flashlight or battery lantern is a much safer emergency light source than a candle.

Have extra batteries on hand. Get a portable battery-operated radio so you can get news and information. Finally, in order to maintain situational awareness, citizens should consider signing up for ReadyNotifyPA at  www.ReadyNotifyPA.org  to receive email or text messages to cell phones and email-enabled devices during an emergency.  Subscribers can choose the types of alerts they want to receive and the county or counties of interest.

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Tags: chester county, Chester County Department of Emergency Services (DES), PECO, PennDOT

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