So, despite the typical over-hyping of weather events by the media, this pending storm is apparently the real deal, and it will impact our area. I will leave the actual weather stuff to the weather experts, but we have gotten lots of good information from local utility companies worth sharing in preparation for the storm.
With anticipated widespread power outages, mobile devices will be the best way to communicate problems. If there is a problem that needs attention (trees and power lines down, etc.) and you are unable to get in touch with the right person, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org; be sure to include your name, phone number, address and a full description of the problem.
Here is some information that could be useful to you during the storm:
First, here is information from West Penn Power:
West Penn Power Storm Tips:
- Encourage residents to prepare for the possibility of power outages lasting as long as seven to 10 days by taking action before the storm occurs. Keep a flashlight with extra batteries handy. Keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill bathtubs with fresh water. Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods. Other tips can be found at www.firstenergycorp.com under “Outages” (located on the bottom right of the home page).
- Encourage residents to register their cell phones with their West Penn Power accounts. The easiest way to do this is to go to www.firstenergycorp.com under "Manage My Account." Register or log in and click on Update Electric Account. Customers can also call our Customer Service at 1-800-686-0021.
- If the power is out, call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877). This is an automated system for reporting outages, downed power lines, and streetlight outages. If the phone number that the customer is calling from is registered with their account, the phone system will associate the call with that address. Customers can request “call backs.” These are automated calls from our phone system to customers to let them know when we believe their power is back on. This will allow the customer to let us know if they are still without power. Why not add 1-888-LIGHTSS to your cell phone contacts now so the number is easily accessible!
- Encourage customers to notify us when they are without power … even if their neighbors have already called us. The more information we receive, the better our computer systems can predict where the problem is.
- Outage maps can be accessed at www.firstenergycorp.com under “Current Outages." The maps work really well on smart phones. Bookmark the page now so you will have the information readily available should outages occur. In addition to the maps, you can get a tabular/summary report by County which allows you to drill down into municipalities.
- West Penn Power will also provide storm updates via Twitter @W_Penn_Power.
- ETRs (Estimated Time of Restoration) may not be available in the initial stages of a storm. If the damage is significant and widespread, it could take a day or longer to assess the damage.
- Downed wire and other safety related incidents are a top priority. To address these types of incidents, we often make temporary repairs and restore power to as many nearby customers as possible. However, some customers may not be restored at that time, because our crews must move on to address other safety-related incidents. Rest assured that we will return to complete the work and restore service as quickly and safely as possible.
- And most important …. Encourage all residents to stay away from downed power lines and anything touching them!
This is from PA American Water:
- With Hurricane Sandy bearing down for a possible strike on the Mid-Atlantic region, Pennsylvania American Water is closely monitoring the storm and making preparations in the event of significant impact on water service to our customers. The company’s preparations include reviewing emergency response plans, mobilizing generators, fueling service vehicles and preparing water tankers.
- Further updates will be provided on our website as conditions warrant, plus you can find information on our Facebook page at
www.facebook.com/pennsylvaniaamwater and Twitter at www.twitter.com/paamwater.
Also, with wind gusts of 50-60 mph anticipated, pets need to be given special consideration. One of my dogs is only 16 pounds and would be carried off in a heartbeat if I let him out. You can find information on how to make sure your pets are safe at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION
Here are some very useful emergency preparedness guides from http://www.readypa.org/, and there are more available there.
Editor's Note: The author is state Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil.