Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Commissioner of Emergency Services Brendan Casey encourage residents to begin preparing for winter, which officially begins on Thurs., Dec. 21.
“Severe winter weather conditions often arrive early in Orange County,” said Neuhaus. “That’s why it is important to start preparing for the upcoming season and potential weather hazards that accompany it now. I urge families to take steps now to prepare for the winter months ahead. You should also check on your elderly neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that they are safe and have the supplies and medications they need during the winter.”
Casey said that the first steps residents can take are to review their family emergency plan, determine what supplies they should have stored to be prepared for any emergency, and be aware of local weather conditions.
“The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents,” Casey said. “Residents should think safety first during a storm. Before going out on the road on wintry days, residents should listen to the local media reports for the latest road conditions. You should remain aware of weather advisories and follow all instructions in the event of an emergency.”
NY-ALERT, New York State’s all-hazards alert and notification system is one of the best ways residents can receive emergency information. To subscribe for this free service, visit www.nyalert.gov. For those that do not have internet access, they may still sign up for NY-ALERT by calling 1-888-697-6972.
Casey also encouraged residents to sign-up for CodeRED, a free service, which sends notifications via telephone, cell phone, email and text message with information about winter weather and storms. Residents and businesses can register for CodeRED at www.public.coderedweb.com/cne/BFDE3B5F37DC.
Also, 511 New York (www.511ny.org) provides up to the minute traffic and transit information for commuters and travelers, offering information 24 hours a day, seven days a week about transportation services and road conditions throughout New York State.
Neuhaus also urged residents to use caution and read all directions when using alternate heating sources such as kerosene heaters, wood and pellet stoves, and fireplaces, and make sure that they are in good working condition. Proper ventilation is critical and generators should only be operated outdoors.
According to Casey, a primary concern during the winter months is the potential loss of heat, power, telephone service, and a resulting shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. He said that residents should have the following items available at all times:
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Battery-powered portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio to receive emergency information. Have extra batteries. The radio will allow you to listen to weather forecasts, information and other emergency broadcasts by local authorities.
- Three days’ supply of food. High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best. Also, stock an emergency supply of bottled water – one gallon per person per day.
- A one-week supply of essential medicines and baby items.
- First aid kit and supplies.
- Extra blankets and sleeping bags.
- Fire extinguisher and smoke detector. Test units regularly to ensure they are working properly.
- ICE Melt and snow shovels.
- At least a half a tank of gas in vehicles.
In the event of a power or heat outage, up-to-date shelter information can be found by calling the United Way’s 2-1-1 service. For more information about storm-preparation efforts in Orange County as well as current weather advisories, visit www.orangecountygov.com/dem, or its Facebook page, facebook.com/OrangeCountyEmergencyManagement/.