WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. January 26, 2015:
County Executive Robert P. Astorino will activate the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Hawthorne at 4 p.m. today (Monday) to coordinate Westchester’s response to the major winter storm that is expected to bring blizzard-like conditions starting tonight. Astorino will be holding a media availability at the EOC at 3:30 p.m. where he will discuss the preparations the county is taking to deal with the storm, as well as provide the latest updates on mass transit and roadway status.
Astorino urged Westchester residents to take precautions to prepare for the storm, which is projected to bring significant snowfall and high winds to the county. Downed trees and power lines, power outages, coastal flooding and dangerous travel conditions are among the potential impacts that severe winter storms can bring, the county executive said.
“Preparedness is critical when such a severe storm is heading our way,” said Astorino. “All of our departments are working hard to ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep the people of Westchester safe. I urge our residents to take the necessary and practical steps to prepare for the storm, particularly to be ready if power outages occur.”
Under Astorino’s direction, county personnel assigned to the EOC will monitor preparations for the storm and oversee the county’s response to and recovery from its impacts. The county will be ready to assist municipalities with resources if requested.
“As we do during all major weather events and other emergencies, we will work with our municipal partners and get through this together,” said Astorino. “In that same spirit, I ask our residents to check on their elderly or disabled relatives and neighbors, or on anyone they know of who may need some extra help dealing with the conditions we are expecting.”
Astorino said the county’s Department of Emergency Services and Health Department offers a broad range of practical advice to help residents prepare for a major winter storm and stay safe when one occurs. A sampling of the information that can be found at www.westchestergov.com/health is listed below. Residents with non-emergency questions can also call 2-1-1.
Before the storm arrives:
- Have plenty of batteries on hand for flashlights and battery-powered radios. Keep these items somewhere you can find them easily if power goes out in the night.
- Keep cell phones and other important electronic devices fully charged.
- Turn the freezer and refrigerator to the highest setting. This will preserve food longer if power goes out.
- Assemble a three-day supply of water and non-perishable foods, needed medications, and extra clothing and blankets. Have a go-bag ready in case you must leave your home.
During the storm:
- Remain indoors if possible.
- Stay off the roads.
- Do not walk or drive close to snow plows; it is difficult for plow operators to see you.
- Do not go near, or drive over, downed power lines.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using alternate heating sources like space heaters and wood burning stoves
- Do not place a space heater within three feet of anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture or bedding, on top of furniture or near water, and never cover your space heater.
- Never leave children or pets unattended near a space heater, fireplace or wood burning stove.
If the power goes out:
- Call the local utility company to inform it of the power outage. Con Edison’s 24-hour hotline is 1-800-75-CONED (752-6633) and NYSEG’s hotline service is 1-800-572-1131.
- Leave a light on to let you know when power has been restored.
- Use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns instead of candles, as candles are a fire hazard.
- Limit opening the refrigerator and freezer doors as much as possible.
- Do not operate electrical generators indoors (this includes the garage) as it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use them outside in a well-ventilated area, far away and downwind from your home.
- If you use a fireplace, wood stove or portable kerosene heater to stay warm, be sure to adequately ventilate to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide build up in your home. Never use a natural gas or propane stove to heat your home.
- Never use the stove or gas range in your kitchen to heat your home.
After the storm:
- Dress warmly in windproof clothing to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.
- Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing to trap body heat. Remember gloves, scarves and a hat that covers the ears
- Shovel snow in moderation, particularly if you have any medical condition or you do not exercise regularly. Do not shovel snow from driveways and sidewalks into the street.
- Never start or operate a snow blower or chain saw in your garage.
- Clear the area around hydrants near your property, if possible.
- Before driving, clear snow from vehicle windows and roofs.
- Be on the lookout for falling ice and snow from roofs and gutters. When a lot of heavy snow and ice has accumulated on roofs, do not stand under structures that are not well-supported.
- During a prolonged power outage, these foods are potentially hazardous if not stored below 41 degrees Fahrenheit and should be discarded: meat, poultry, seafood, cold cuts, hot dogs, eggs, cream, sour cream, yogurt, milk, custards, puddings, soft and shredded cheeses, cut fruit, cooked vegetables, pasta, casseroles, unbaked cookie and bread dough, gravy, creamy salad dressings, fish sauces, hoisin sauce, opened spaghetti sauce and garlic in oil. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.