O&R declared a company-wide Storm Watch today in preparation for a of a major storm system expected to move through the region this weekend or early next week. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy moving up the eastern seaboard.
According to the NWS, the tri-state area will likely experience the storm’s impacts including heavy rainfall, high, costal flooding and beach erosion. The NWS notes the impact will “ultimately depend on the eventual track and evolution of Tropical Cyclone Sandy as it interacts with a deepening upper level low pressure system approaching the East Coast.”
O&R’s Storm Function coordinators have begun preparing their organizations for activation. O&R’s first-response organizations have started planning weekend work schedules and ramping up so they are prepared for the first sign of severe, storm-related damage.
O&R Emergency Preparedness planners also are consulting with neighboring utilities about the impact along the storm’s path and have been discussing preparations with the various mutual aid organizations to which the company belongs.
To help its customers prepare to weather a storm, O&R offers these tips and others at its Storm Center:
- For safety’s sake, don’t touch or approach any downed wire. Assume it is energized and dangerous. Call O&R immediately toll-free 1-877-434-4100. Depending on the situation, you may also want to call your local police to divert traffic until an O&R crew arrives.
- Maintain a distance of at least 50 feet from downed wires and anything they are in contact with including puddles of water and fences. Supervise your children so that they are not in the vicinity and keep pets on a leash.
- If a fallen wire is draped over a car, do not approach the car and make rescue attempts. Remain a safe distance away, and try to keep the occupant/s of the vehicle calm. If possible, emergency personnel should handle the situation.
- Stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water, and a manual can opener, baby supplies and pet food. Set your refrigerator and freezer controls to their coldest settings. Fill the bathtub with water.
- Have emergency equipment within reach --- portable radio, flashlights, candles and matches, spare batteries, first aid kit, cell phone and important medications. Update your personal list of emergency phone numbers. Keep O&R’s toll-free number 1-877-434-4100 near the phone to report power outages.
- If you experience a power outage, don’t assume that O&R automatically knows about it or that someone else will report it. To be sure the outage is reported, please call O&R toll-free at 1-877-434-4100 to let O&R know what happened. The more information you can provide, the more O&R can help you.
- Remember, if the base station of your cordless phone plugs into the wall, your phone will be unusable during a power outage.
- If a family member relies on electrically operated medical devices, secure a portable generator or make alternate arrangements for care. O&R does not provide customers with generators.
- Keep at least a half-tank of gas in your car. Consider having extra cash on-hand, in case ATM machines don’t work.
- Listen for storm alerts on the radio. In case of power outages, O&R will keep the stations updated on repair progress.
- Learn how to manually open and close any electrically powered garage door, security door or gate.
It is also a good idea to make sure cell phones and other wireless devices are fully charged.