Camden County, Atlantic City Electric, and the American Red Cross have announced that they are ready for the upcoming winter storm season and they want county residents to be prepared as well.
“Camden County works closely with Atlantic City Electric, and our other public utility providers, to ensure the safety of our residents throughout the year, and especially in the winter months when power outages can put individuals at risk,” said Freeholder Jonathan Young, liaison to the Camden County Office of Emergency Management. “In addition to our preparedness, it is important for each household in Camden County to have their own plan in place for emergency situations that may arise.”
Photos courtesy of Atlantic City Electric
The Camden County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) coordinates activities that mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. The OEM is responsible for maintaining and enforcing the New Jersey State Disaster Laws. The state law requires every municipality to have a state approved Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) and to appoint a Coordinator. The Emergency Management Office assists the 37 county municipalities in developing their EOPs and keeping them current.
Atlantic City Electric has taken essential steps to ready the local energy grid and provide customers with safe and reliable electric this winter. The local energy company has completed this work to prepare for colder temperatures and wintry weather – part of the $312 million the company spends each year to modernize the local energy grid, perform maintenance and inspections, and enhance existing infrastructure.
“Each day work is being performed to further enhance reliability for customers and harden our system against severe weather,” said Gary Stockbridge, Atlantic City Electric region president, after all the cost to fix an average ac unit isn’t cheap if it hasn’t been properly maintained for years, leaving the potential for customers having to endure the cold this winter.. “Our preparation efforts are central to being ready to respond safely and quickly when customers need us this winter. It’s this seasonal preparation, as well as year-round investments in the reliability and resiliency of our system, that have helped us deliver the most reliable service in the company’s history in recent years.”
On the local electric grid, preparation includes inspecting and upgrading equipment; trimming trees, which cause about 40 percent of power outages; building new underground equipment; and installing stronger, tree-resistant aerial cable. Atlantic City Electric also continues to install smart technology that can automatically identify the location of damage, restore service more quickly, or isolate damage. Ongoing investments in the local energy grid have resulted in a 40 percent decrease in the frequency of outages for customers over the last five years.
Just as the Freeholder Board and Atlantic City Electric prepares, customers should also prepare.
- Assemble an emergency storm kit. Include battery-powered radio or TV, flashlight, a first-aid kit, battery-powered or windup clock, extra batteries, special needs items, medications, multi-purpose tool, cell phones with chargers, and list of important and emergency phone numbers.
- Apply insulation, caulking, and weather-stripping around your home to keep out the cold.
- Have a supply of bottled water and easy-to-prepare, non-perishable foods available.
- Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries on each floor of your home.
- Identify an alternate location for you and/or your family in case of extended outage.
- Review the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operations of your generator. Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring. Never use a generator indoors or any enclosed area.
Download Atlantic City Electric’s app at atlanticcityelectric.com/mobileapp to keep informed during a storm.
Atlantic City Electric’s preparation efforts also include conducting emergency response drills, testing computer and emergency systems, reviewing emergency processes and procedures, and coordinating closely with government and community partners. The company also participates in collaborative emergency response exercises with its Exelon sister companies – BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco – to ensure each can provide seamless support during a storm. During the series of nor’easters last March, this coordination allowed crews from ComEd to quickly respond and support power restoration efforts in the hardest hit parts of the East Coast.
In addition, the Camden County Office of Emergency Management also provides tips for extreme weather conditions we may experience over the winter months during code blue situations.
Freeholder Young offers residents the following tips:
- Dress in layers and cover your exposed skin to avoid frostbite.
- It only takes 30 to 45 minutes for exposed skin to develop frostbite. Mittens keep children’s hands warmer than gloves.
- Avoid wearing cotton. It holds in moisture and loses its insulating properties.
- Remember that even clear-looking sidewalks can be slippery.
- Keep dog walks brief. Don’t leave animals outside and consider a dog coat.
- Please check on your neighbors, especially those that are elderly, disabled or live alone.
- Using your ceiling fan clockwise on low re-circulates warm air through the room.
- Never use a stove, oven or a gas grill to heat your home.
- Use space heaters safely on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away. Turn off
- space heaters before going to bed.
- Wood-burning fireplaces should have a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks or rolling logs.
- Never leave children alone in the room when a fire is lit. Keep all flammable items at least three feet away from the fireplace. Always make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid the costly repair of pipes that freeze and burst.
- To prevent pipes from freezing, run water, even at a trickle. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, but be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
- In order to conserve electricity, turn off lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using.
- At night, cover windows with drapes or blankets to minimize heat loss. During the day, open blinds to let sun warm the space.
Being prepared is a responsibility everyone should take seriously. If a severe storm hits, monitor local weather reports regularly and follow the advice of local emergency management officials. Immediately report a downed wire or service issue by calling 1-800-833-7476, visiting atlanticcityelectric.com, or through the company’s mobile app.
More tips, resources and safety information are available at atlanticcityelectric.com/storm.
To learn more about Atlantic City Electric, visit The Source, Atlantic City Electric’s online news room. Find additional information about Atlantic City Electric by visiting atlanticcityelectric.com. Follow the company on Facebook and on Twitter Atlantic City Electric’s mobile app is available by clicking here.
Atlantic City Electric, a public utility owned by Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), provides safe, reliable and affordable regulated electric delivery services to approximately 550,000 customers in southern New Jersey.
(Article updated on November 9, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.)