The area manager for JCP&L told Lacey Township Committee members at their regular meeting Thursday night that the company has several recent equipment updates that should facilitate its response if Hurricane Sandy affects the area.
Maria Sessa said the company has recently installed laptops in its utility vehicles, and we are "happy to report, this technology will help us provide more accurate information during emergency situations."
Sessa also noted that earlier this year, officials with JCP&L launched their online mapping center, which maps outages if and as they are happening in a given area.
As a result of the weather forecasts, FirstEnergy (JCP&L's parent company) officials have mobilized internal crews and support personnel to assist in the restoration process if the storm causes large-scale power outages in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. In addition, the company is securing outside utility crews, electrical contractors and tree contractors, according to Sessa.
Committeeman David Most said he appreciated Sessa's efforts to keep the township informed. He recalled Hurricane Irene, which left several township residents without power for days. Other committee members also thanked Sessa, and noted that the township is currently working with county emergency personnel to prepare for the storm.
Depending on the severity of the storm's impact on the electrical system, JCP&L officials are encouraging customers to prepare for the possibility of power outages lasting up to seven to 10 days.
A statement from the company suggested:
- Keeping a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Using care when burning candles; open flames are a fire hazard.
- Gathering extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
- Keeping an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
- Stocking an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
- Keeping a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand. Tune in to a local radio station for current storm information.
- Having a hard-wired telephone or a charged cell phone handy in the event you need to report your electricity is out. Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when power is out. If you have a smart phone, this will ensure you have access to online information sources.
Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage. In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their electric company or local police or fire department. Customers should never go near a downed power line, even if it is believed to not carry electricity.
Emergency power generators offer an option for customers needing or wanting uninterrupted service. However, to ensure the safety of the home's occupants as well as that of utility company employees who may be working on power lines in the area, the proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified electrician, according to the statement.
For updated information on the company's storm preparation efforts, current outages, FirstEnergy's storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages_help. The operating companies will also provide updates via Twitter: