Fitzgerald Urges Residents to Be Prepared & Use Best Judgment

PITTSBURGH – Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, in a press conference at the Emergency Operations Center, urged residents to be prepared for the weather and its ramifications.

“Post-tropical Sandy is still forecast to impact our area with watches for flooding, high wind and snow are in effect. Our Emergency Operations Center is active, our employees are monitoring the weather and conditions on an ongoing basis, and we are prepared to respond to any situation that may arise,” said County Executive Fitzgerald. “Obviously, the public also needs to be aware of their surroundings and should be prepared to deal with the effects of this storm.”

Earlier today, the County Executive declared a countywide disaster emergency to enable county and municipal governments to respond effectively to the impact of Hurricane Sandy. Threats include flooding, particularly in small creeks, streams and areas of poor drainage in the near future, with sustained winds of 25-35 mph with gusts as high as 60-70 mph.  The time window for the heaviest rainfall and strongest winds will occur from 8 p.m. Monday through 4 a.m. Tuesday.

The County Executive was joined by Sheriff William Mullen and county officials including Chief of Emergency Services Alvin Henderson, County Manager William McKain, County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt, Executive’s Chief of Staff Jennifer Liptak, Acting Director of Health Dr. Ronald Voorhees, Director of Human Services Marc Cherna and Director of Public Works Joe Olczak.  The Executive also indicated that he had been in touch with officials at the Port Authority, the Airport Authority and the Community College of Allegheny County.  The EOC will also remain in contact with these agencies and the 130 local emergency management coordinators moving forward.

Chief Henderson urged residents to take precautions and to make their own safety a priority: “Do not use generators in a closed garage or other unventilated area that is attached to your home. Don’t drive through standing water in case of flooding – turn around and go the other way. Obviously, we would also encourage residents to check on their friends, family and neighbors to make sure that they’re doing okay during the next few days.

Officials also urged residents to be prepared by gathering a three day supply of basic items including water, food, flashlights, battery-powered radios, first aid kit, pet supplies, and prescription medications. For more information on how to make a disaster supply kit and how to prepare for all kinds of disasters, visit Preparedness Links.

Residents should report power outages directly to their power companies. Non-emergency calls and questions should be directed to local municipal emergency management offices. In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately. When calling 9-1-1 to report an emergency, it is critical for callers to stay on the line until the operator answers.

The County’s Public Inquiry Line will be activated at 7 p.m. this evening.  As this event affects all of Allegheny County, individuals in need of information, resources or emotional support are encouraged to call the Public Inquiry Line at 412-482-3250.  The PA 2-1-1 Southwest line is also active 24/7 and can help connect callers to individuals in need of debris removal, repair of storm-damage to utilities, home repairs, utilities or food.

The County Executive also indicated that the County's website, will be updated with information as it becomes available.  Additionally, the county will utilize its Twitter accounts (@Allegheny_Co and @ACE_Fitzgerald) and Facebook account to post details throughout the emergency.  Ongoing information will also be provided to the media.

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