September is National Preparedness Month and serves as a reminder to residents to plan for emergency situations that can have an impact on families and communities. Major events like severe weather can happen at any time and Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. urges customers to take precautions that will help them remain safe before, during and after a major event or disaster.
“This year, we’ve seen catastrophic events come in different forms; from a global health crisis to a major tropical storm that had far reaching impacts on our region,” Charles A. Freni, President and CEO of Central Hudson. “While it is impossible to predict when these events will occur, we can keep our communities and loved ones safe by having effective emergency plans in place.”
Ready.gov has designated “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today” as the theme for 2020, and lists ways in which families can be ready for emergencies, including:
- Having available cash in case of emergencies, as ATMs and credit card readers may not always be available.
- Taking photographs of important documents and personal belongings to help you quickly file an insurance claim after storm damage; and
- Assembling a basic emergency supply kit could include a first aid kit, whistle to signal for help, food and water for at least three days, and face coverings, hand sanitizer and disinfectants during COVID-19.
- Develop an emergency plan, including steps to stay safe during the pandemic.
Central Hudson takes important steps to provide reliable electric service, and to restore that service safely and efficiently when service is interrupted. In the event of an outage, proper preparation can reduce the impact on your household:
- Pay attention to weather advisories and storm warnings.
- Keep a flashlight and fresh batteries handy.
- Have a battery-powered radio to keep informed of restoration efforts.
- Double-check your supply of food, and stock your pantry with packaged or canned foods that require no refrigeration or cooking. Avoid purchasing large quantities of perishable food items in preparation for a major storm.
- Avoid opening your refrigerator unnecessarily during outages, so food lasts longer. Have a cooler with ice or dry ice ready to help preserve your perishable foods.
- Be sure you have a non-electric can opener.
- If you have an electric water pump, always keep an emergency supply of bottled water on hand for drinking and washing.
- If a major storm is forecast, fill your tub with water as an added reserve.
- Know what disasters and hazards could affect your area, how to get emergency alerts and where you would go if you and your family need to evacuate.
If someone in your home depends on electrically-operated life-support equipment, make sure to contact Central Hudson before there is an actual emergency so we can note this on your account and contact you when severe weather is anticipated.
After a major weather event, it is important to exercise caution and follow these safety tips:
- Stay at least 30 feet away from downed power lines, and lines which may be entangled and hidden in fallen trees. Assume all downed lines are live;
- Report any gas odors by calling 911 or 1-800-942-8274, as severe flooding has the potential to undermine pipelines;
- Follow all travel advisories, heed road closures and detours, and limit driving during and immediately following severe weather;
- Use extreme caution when entering flooded basements, as there may be a risk of shock if the home’s or building’s electric system is compromised;
- Follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions on the use of emergency generators, and be sure to shut off the main breaker when in use and operate the units outdoors; and
- Never use outdoor gas or charcoal grills indoors, as they pose a fire hazard and over time can give off deadly carbon monoxide gas. Use these appliances only outdoors with proper ventilation. Operate cars and motor vehicles outdoors only, and never in the garage.
More information on preparing for storms and emergencies and communicating with Central Hudson is available in the Outages section at www.CentralHudson.com; for information regarding electric and natural gas safety, visit www.CentralHudson.com/My-Energy/Safety; for more on National Preparedness Month, go to www.Ready.Gov/September.