Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Commissioner of Emergency Services Brendan Casey encourage residents to begin preparing for winter, which officially begins on December 21st.
“Severe winter weather conditions often arrive early in Orange County,” Neuhaus said. “If you have not already, I urge families to take steps now to prepare for the winter months ahead. You should also check on your elderly neighbors, friends, and relatives to make sure that they are safe and have the supplies and medications they need during the winter.”
Casey said that the first steps residents can take is to review their family emergency plan, determine what supplies they should have stored to be prepared for any emergency, and be aware of local weather conditions.
“The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents,” Casey said. “Residents should think safety first during a storm. Before going out on the road on wintry days, residents should listen to the local media reports for the latest road conditions. You should remain aware of weather advisories and follow all instructions in the event of an emergency.”
NY-ALERT, New York State’s all-hazards alert and notification system, is one of the best ways residents can receive emergency information. To subscribe for this free service, please visit alert.ny.gov. If you do not have internet access, you may still sign up for NY-ALERT by calling 1-888-697-6972.
511 New York (511ny.org) provides up to the minute traffic and transit information for commuters and travelers, offering information 24 hours a day, seven days a week about transportation services and road conditions throughout New York State. Neuhaus also urged residents to use caution and read all directions when using alternate heating sources such as kerosene heaters, wood and pellet stoves, and fireplaces, and make sure that they are in good working condition. Proper ventilation is critical and generators should only be operated outdoors.
According to Casey, a primary concern during the winter months is the potential loss of heat, power, telephone service, and a resulting shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. He said that residents should always have the following items available:
- Flashlight(s) and extra batteries
- Battery-powered portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio to listen to weather forecasts and receive emergency information
- A three-day supply of food that does not require cooking or refrigeration, i.e. canned goods, dried fruits, protein bars
- Bottled water (one gallon per person per day)
- A one-week supply of essential medicines and baby items
- First aid kit and supplies
- Extra blankets and sleeping bags
- Fire extinguisher and smoke detector (test units regularly to ensure they are working properly)
- ICE Melt and snow shovels
- At least half a tank of gas in all vehicles
In the event of a power or heat outage, up-to-date shelter information can be found by calling the United Way’s 2-1-1 service.
For more information about storm-preparation efforts in Orange County as well as current weather advisories, please visit the Division of Emergency Management’s website at orangecountygov.com, or its Facebook page, facebook.com/OrangeCountyEmergencyManagement/.