County to Activate Emergency Operations Center to Monitor Approaching Hazardous Weather

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro has announced the Dutchess County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be activated at 1:30pm today to monitor and respond to the National Weather Service’s Hazardous Weather Outlook, which includes threat of damaging wind gusts, large hail, tornadoes and flash flooding from 2pm to 10pm today.

“Residents are advised to take necessary precautions to prepare for the possibility of severe weather later today and the possible impacts,” said County Executive Molinaro.  “The weather is difficult to predict, but it is best to err on the side of caution and take some simple steps to keep you and your family safe.”

The County’s Emergency Operations Center will be partially activated beginning at 1:30pm today with representation from the following agencies:

  • Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office
  • New York State Police
  • Dutchess County Public Works
  • Dutchess County Soil & Water

Representatives from Central Hudson will be stationed in the Dutchess County 911 Dispatch Center to monitor reports of downed power lines to be able to coordinate faster response to downed power lines and work with county public works crews.

County health and human service agencies will be on stand by to respond as needed to address human services needs, such as isolated senior citizens, that may result from potential extended power outages.

Dutchess County Emergency Response Coordinator Dana Smith said residents can also take steps to prepare for severe weather.  “Be Aware, Be Prepared and Be Safe.    We have a full range of information available on our county website dutchessny.gov including information about emergency plans and kits and how to deal with the potential after-storm impacts.     A little preparation can go a long way to ensuring a family’s safety,” said Smith.

The following are storm safety tips from the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response and the New York State Office of Emergency Management:

Before the storm hits:

  • Have an emergency kit and an emergency plan in place.
  • Emergency kit should include items such as non-perishable food, water, a portable radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
  • Tie down or bring inside lawn furniture, trash cans, tools and hanging plants that could be projectiles during the storm.
  • If you have a basement, check sump pumps to ensure they are operating and be prepared to use a backup system.
  • Have a standby generator or alternative source of power available.
  • Check on neighbors, especially the elderly and disabled.
  • Charge cell phones and important electronic devices

As the storm approaches:

  • Stay informed.   Listen to local radio and television reports for the latest information on the progress of these summer storms and guidance from local officials.
  • Stay inside, away from windows and glass doors.
  • Stay off roads. If you are traveling, find safe shelter immediately.

If you must travel:

  • Do not attempt to drive over flooded roads – turn around and go another way. Water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.  Water can also cause the vehicle to stall.
  • Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas.
  • If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

If winds become strong:

  • Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered.
  • Close all interior doors.
  • Secure and brace external doors.
  • If you are in a two or multiple-story house, go to an interior lower-floor room.
  • Remain indoors during a severe thunder storm. If warned of a tornado, go to a basement or other low area in your home or business or in a room with no windows.

If you lose electrical service:

  • Call your utility first to determine area repair schedules. Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate power has been restored.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help reduce food spoilage.
  • If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, fill plastic containers with water, leaving an inch of space inside each one. This will help keep food cold.

If you need to use a generator:

  • Before installing a generator, be sure to properly disconnect from your utility electrical service. If possible, have your generator installed by a qualified electrician.
  • Run generators outside, downwind of structures. Never run a generator indoors. Deadly carbon monoxide gas from the generator’s exhaust can spread throughout enclosed spaces.
  • Fuel spilled on a hot generator can cause an explosion. If your generator has a detachable fuel tank remove it before refilling. If this is not possible, shut off the generator and let it cool before refilling.
  • Do not exceed the rated capacity of your generator. Most small, home-use portable generators produce 350 to 12,000 watts of power. Overloading your generator can damage it and appliances connected to it, and may cause a fire. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep children away from generators at all times.

Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Do not operate generators indoors; the motor emits deadly carbon monoxide gas.
  • Do not use charcoal to cook indoors. It, too, can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide  gas.
  • Do not use your gas oven to heat your home — prolonged use of an open oven in a closed  house can create carbon monoxide gas.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm.

A complete checklist with travel tips, flood prevention tips and how to deal with storms and flooding is available on the Department of Emergency’s Response webpage at dutchessny.gov.

Residents can also log on to http://www.erh.noaa.gov/aly/ for the most up-to-date weather information and advisories from the Albany office of the National Weather Service.

Updates will also be available on the County’s Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dutchess-County-Government/73646813346

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