WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT
County Executive Hughes Urges ‘Safe Heating’ During Winter Storm
TRENTON, N.J. —As another winter storm bears down on the Mercer County region, this time with threats of heavy snow and ice, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes reminds residents to practice “safe heating” should they lose heat or power.
“The entire region is expecting a heavy snowfall, possibly mixed with sleet and freezing rain, and high winds. This combination of factors increases the probability of downed wires and branches,” Hughes said. “Roads will be slippery, and with the chance of power outages people should not venture out unless it is absolutely necessary, and should exercise caution when using alternative heat sources such as fireplaces or portable heaters.”
The storm is expected to arrive in this region late this evening and throughout the day Wednesday. Mercer County Office of Emergency Management reports that heavy snow from yesterday’s event is already making branches and power lines vulnerable, and the added ice could compound the risk.
It is recommended that portable gas or propane heaters, which can be fire hazards, be used only in emergency situations. To find out more about the safe use of portable heat, fireplaces or kerosene heaters, visit the state Division of Fire Safety at http://www.state.nj.us/dca/news/news/2013/approved/20131224.html for a complete list of tips.
To allow crews to safely clear the library parking lots, all branches of the Mercer County Library System will have a 2.5 hour delayed opening Wednesday, Feb. 5, opening at noon. Mercer County Senior Nutrition sites will also be closed Feb. 5. Patrons to that program today were provided boxed lunches for tomorrow. Municipal senior centers might close due to the predicted storm. Patrons are urged to check with their senior center before venturing out. Other closures or delays will be posted on the www.mercercounty.org website as the information becomes available.
County residents who meet income eligibility requirements may also qualify for heating assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Residents who qualify can sign up for assistance anytime through April 30, 2014, and those who are 60 or over or disabled can receive applications by mail. To find out more information, Mercer County residents can call the Division of Housing at (609) 989-6959, or visit www.energyassistance.nj.gov.
Tenants or homeowners with heating issues are urged to call their landlord or public utility provider for assistance. Information about utility companies and service maps is available on the state Board of Public Utility Web site at http://www.bpu.state.nj.us/bpu/index.shtml.
Additionally, residents should also adhere to the following advice from the state Department of Health and Senior Services:
- Dress in layers while outdoors, including a hat and gloves. If you get wet from heavy sweating, rain or snow, change into dry clothes as soon as possible.
- Eat well and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinking alcohol because it can accelerate loss of body heat.
- Many cold-weather injuries are the result of falls from icy surfaces. If possible, use rock salt or chemical de-icer to keep sidewalks, walkways and porches free of ice.
- Stock your car with emergency gear, including a cell phone, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, sand for extra traction, ice scraper and a small shovel, and flares or other warning devices. For longer trips in a vehicle, pack extra food and water, blankets and any required medications.
To report a utility outage:
Utility Contact Information
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