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November 26-2, 2014

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Planning for pets in a power outage


According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an estimated 20 percent of disaster evacuation failure is attributed to people unwilling to leave their pets. 

"It is very important to have a disaster preparedness plan for your pet or pets," said Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech. "When it comes to our companion animals in time of disaster, we go into protection mode with our decisions. Being ready increases the likelihood of survival for all involved. Save on difficulty, stress and worry – be prepared."

Here's how:

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What to do in a power outage


Despite the warm temperatures this week, the seven feet of snow in Buffalo should serve as a reminder that winter is, in fact, on the way. Now is the time to get ready - not after the snow starts to fall.

Last February’s ice and snow storm resulted in more than 700,000 of PECO’s 1.6 million customers throughout the region losing power, some for as long as a week. Losing electrical power and heat in the home is an inconvenience if it lasts for a few hours, but if an outage lasts longer, especially during cold weather, it can be dangerous.

Temperatures inside the house can drop quickly, darkness can increase risks of falls, and within a few hours, food can begin to spoil, even in the refrigerator.

In a bad storm, it may not be safe or even possible to travel. Know how you will shelter in place if you need to. There are some supplies you can have on hand, and preparations you can make in advance. 

Supplies and precautions
Have a list of emergency contacts, including family members within and outside the area; doctors; veterinarian; and pharmacy.

Keep flashlights and fresh batteries in easily accessed places on every floor of your home. Make sure all residents know where these are kept.

A battery-powered or windup radio will enable you to listen to news reports and monitor the situation. A battery-powered clock or watch is also helpful.

Cell phones and portable phones are convenient, but in a power outage you will lose phone service if your phone requires an electrical outlet to work or be charged. 
 

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Stay informed during an outage

One of the most important pieces of equipment you can have is a battery-operated radio so you can stay informed.

Leading up to a storm, the Office of Emergency Management monitors forecasts carefully, and strives to determine in advance what emergency measures may be needed, and to keep the public informed. “Heading up to a storm, we generally do a press conference with the Mayor,” said Edward Vassallo, public information program manager for the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Media outlets are updated frequently on conditions and resources, so tuning in to TV or radio news is helpful. 

Vassallo also recommended signing up for emergency alerts through www.readynotifypa.org. These can be sent to an email account or to your cell phone. If you do not have either of these, you can call the city’s information line at 3-1-1.

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