Preparedness for Hurricane Sandy paid off for Pennsylvania. The most devastating effect Sandy had on specifically Lancaster County is power outages. Throughout the state power outage is the major concern.
At his 9 a.m. briefing this morning (30 October), Governor Tom Corbett reported that 1.3 million people throughout the Commonwealth are without power this morning. Even before the storm hit, PPL had brought an extra 1,500 utility workers here from Kentucky. PECO brought in an extra 1,100 workers from Chicago.
If your power is out and you are using generators or camp stoves, do not use them inside your home, basement or attached garage. They should also not be placed near windows, doors or vents as this can create carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced by many types of equipment and is poisonous to breathe.
If you lost power, call your utility company but only call one time. Those numbers are:
• Citizens Electric Of Lewisburg — 570-524-2231
• Duquesne Light — 1-888-393-7000
• FirstEnergy Companies (Includes Pennsylvania Power Company (Penn Power) Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed) FirstEnergy CompanyPennsylvania Electric (Penelec), West Penn Power (formerly Allegheny Power) 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877)
• PPL — 1-800-DIAL-PPL (1-800-342-5775)
• PECO Energy Company – 1-800-841-4141
• Pike County Light & Power Company – 1-877-434-4100
• UGI Utilities Inc. — 1-800-276-2722
• Wellsboro Electric Company — 570-724-3516
The fuel refineries in Philadelphia planned ahead with both personnel and resources. According to Governor Corbett, some but not all the functions of the refineries were shut down in preparation of the storm. The refineries are now coming fully back online.
The American Red Cross set up shelters throughout the state. The official Red Cross shelter for Lancaster County is Manheim Township Middle School, which has a shelter capacity of 412. As of 9 a.m. this morning the school sheltered 22 people still. There are currently 48 shelters housing 600 people throughout the Commonwealth.
Many roads had restrictions placed on them meaning certain speeds must be adhered and certain vehicles were not permitted on them. Those restrictions have now been lifted.
Despite the individual discomforts, Pennsylvania fared well. There were two fatalities in the state due to the storm. CNN reported this morning that Sandy claimed at least 16 lives throughout the East Coast, with Pennsylvania being the first.
A National Disaster Distress Helpline will provide 24/7 access to crisis counselors and support for Pennsylvanians experiencing emotional distress in relation to Hurricane Sandy.
“The helpline is a national hotline answered by a network of crisis call centers across the U.S., providing phone- and text-based support to people experiencing emotional distress before, during and after disasters,” Secretary of Public Welfare Gary D. Alexander said.
Anyone experiencing distress in relation to Hurricane Sandy can call the Disaster Distress Helpline toll-free at 1-800-985-5990 or text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746. Spanish-speakers can text ‘Hablanos’ to 66746. Calls and texts will be answered by trained crisis counselors from call centers throughout the U.S.