Experts say that taking the time now to prepare for Hurricane Irene could make the difference in comfort and safety for you and your family at the storm barrels ever closer.
Local officials say the threat is real here in and around Macungie, Lower Mac and Alburtis.
Ben Galiardo, emergency management coordinator for the township, said the ground is in no condition to endure a hurricane right now.
“The ground is really saturated right now, and high winds will easily uproot trees. We can expect widespread power outages.
“PPL will be very busy, so people should plan to be without electricity for 24 hours or more,” Galiardo said.
He also said that the roads that usually flood will be under particular scrutiny include any road with a bridge, especially Spring Creek, Mill and Millrace roads, and Sauerkraut and Cherry lanes.
In the event evacuation is needed, the township's community center is available, as is Agricultural Hall in Allentown.
In Macungie, Emergency Management Coordinator David Boyko suggests appointing a family liaison, a person out of the path of the storm who has a landline phone and with whom separated family members can check in.
Families should also have an aged upon meeting place to meet if they have to leave their home in a hurry.
Paul Seigfried, emergency management coordinator for Alburtis said there’s usually not a big problem with flooding in the borough, but families should definitely takes precautions this weekend.
“It’s time to buckle down,” he said. “Take cars to higher ground and pull in the lawn furniture.”
All agreed on several other precautions:
- Have a three-day supply of water on hand. Experts say that’s at least one gallon per person per day.
- A three-day supply of non-perishable food for each person.
- Collect essential medications. If you are running low, have your prescriptions refilled today.
- Have candles, batteries and a portable radio handy.
In preparation for possible power outages, Lehigh County Emergency Services has been checking to make sure emergency generators are full of fuel and ready at key sites such as radio towers, transmitters and hospitals, said Emergency Services Director Tom Nervine.
“Certainly there’s concerns anytime you have something of this magnitude,” he said. “No one seems to know what track this thing is going to take.”
Each municipality’s emergency management coordinator usually knows the locality’s trouble spots for flooding and the county coordinates communication between them and the state and other agencies on help that’s needed, Nervine said.
The county is also looking at evacuation capabilities in coordination with the American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley, should flooding be severe.
Nervine suggests that residents assemble what he called a “72-hour kit,” in which they gather essentials needed for a prolonged power outage, such as flashlights with batteries, a battery-powered radio, food, jugs of water, medication and cash.
“Think about what would happen if the power in your home was going to be out for a week and make up a kit accordingly,” he said.
The county 911 Center fielded 350 calls over 45 minutes after the earthquake Tuesday and Nervine said people shouldn’t call unless it’s a real emergency and should stay off the line so the phone system doesn’t get overloaded.