With many counties across our region under a Winter Storm Watch with a potential for significant snowfall local emergency management agencies are preparing to keep
our communities safe.
Somerset County EMA officials used “the calm before the storm” Friday morning to prepare for the snowy days ahead.
“We do not have all of the predictions, though, we are going to take this time that we have while there is good weather to prepare for that,” said Joel Landis, the Director of Emergency Services for Somerset County.
Crews worked inside the Region 13 Hazmat Building at the county’s airport facility to brush the dust off their trusty winter equipment.
“We’re getting ready our high-profile vehicle, so if we do have increased snowfall, we’re able to access areas that might not be accessible by a lower-profile vehicle. We’ll be checking through our portable equipment, chains, and making sure batteries are charged,”
He says their county’s services, vehicles, and equipment are there for smaller, local agencies when they need extra help.
“Emergency management, a lot of times, has equipment that is just not normally utilized by your local emergency services,” Landis said.
County officials advise allowing enough time to travel this weekend.
Landis says, once the show falls, help out your local fire departments by shoveling snow around fire hydrants.
But until the snow falls, use your time to come up with a plan.
“Make sure you have an emergency plan for yourself. Make sure you reach out to your other family members. Make sure you have medication you might need,”
Landis says, in the case of a significant snowfall situation, don’t leave your house if you don’t have to.
“By all means, if there’s any way that you don’t have to travel, I would wait until the storm is over to make those trips.”
If you’re a resident of Somerset County, you can sign up for Code Red, the county’s mass notification system, to receive emergency alerts.
You can also use PennDOT’s 511PA website to check for vehicle accidents and road conditions before leaving your house.
The National Weather Service can be used to track the storm throughout the weekend.
Click here for the Somerset County Department of Emergency Services Facebook Page.