PITTSBURGH – Allegheny County is preparing for the possibility of strong winds, heavy rain and even snow as Hurricane Sandy moves north.
“Obviously, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the forecast for early next week with the track of Hurricane Sandy, although we expect to see rain and some snow for portions of our area,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Our Chief of Emergency Services and his staff have been constantly monitoring the reports on the storm and are readying our center to be able to respond to whatever this region may see as a result of Hurricane Sandy.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) is reporting that the storm could combine with another system to bring a combination of snow, wind, rain and flooding to much of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has indicated that the potential heavy rains, high winds and risk of flooding may result in extensive damage to roads, streets, bridges, and property. The County’s Emergency Operations Center is prepared for whatever the storm may bring.
“We have been monitoring the progress of this storm and receiving regular briefings from the NWS and PEMA, and will certainly continue to do so throughout the weekend,” said Chief Alvin Henderson. “We have a multi-faceted plan which provides for incremental and/or urgent changes in staffing based upon assessments and anticipated needs and have notified and provided information to all 130 municipal emergency coordinators. We are currently monitoring the situation and are ready to implement any changes that may be necessary.”
Allegheny County Public Works is also prepared for any needs from its Department. “Starting on October 1, Public Works began getting its equipment serviced and prepared for the snow fighting season, fitting the plows, setting the spreaders and other steps to ready our equipment,” said Public Works Deputy Director Bernie Rossman. “Over the last few days, given the potential for winter weather, we made sure that our salt supplies were adequate at every district and now have trucks filled with salt in every region, ready to go. Crews will be on standby when the weather hits.”
County Executive Fitzgerald also urged the public to be prepared for the storm – whether it be to stay in their homes during the duration, or to evacuate if it is recommended or ordered by local authorities, “Residents should have enough provisions in their homes to last at least 72 hours because help from emergency responders may not be immediately available when severe weather strikes.”
Chief Henderson added that personal preparedness is just as important as professional response in emergency situations, “At a minimum, residents should have the following on hand: flashlights and extra batteries; portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries; first aid kit and manual; emergency food and water; non-electric can opener; essential medicines/prescriptions; cash, credit cards and important legal documents; and sturdy shoes.”
For more information on how to make a disaster supply kit and how to prepare for all kinds of disasters, visit www.alleghenycounty.us/emerserv/preparelinks.aspx.
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