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Oct. 25, 2010

Oswego County Urges Residents to Prepare for Winter

County Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann presents Terry Bennett, Emergency Services Program Coordinator for the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, a proclamation designating Winter Weather Awareness Week in Oswego County

Barry D. Leemann, Chairman of the Oswego County Legislature, proclaimed October 24 to 30 as Winter Weather Awareness Week in Oswego County and urged residents to begin preparing for the upcoming season.

"Every New Yorker knows that winter weather conditions arrive early in the Empire State, and they can hit Oswego County hard throughout the season," Legislature Chairman Leemann said.

"That's why it makes sense to begin preparing today for winter and the possible weather hazards that come with it. There are some simple, common-sense steps that individuals, families and businesses can take now to prepare for the winter months ahead."

Legislature Chairman Leemann said the first steps people can take are to review their family emergency plan, determine what supplies they should have stored to be prepared for any emergency, and be aware of local weather conditions by listening to broadcasts of their local television and radio stations and from the National Weather Service's NOAA Weather Radio.

"Think safety first. Before going out on the road on wintry days, residents should listen to the local media reports for the latest road conditions," he said.

One of the best ways to get emergency information is through NY-ALERT, the State's all-hazards, web-based alert and notification system. It's free. To subscribe, visit www.nyalert.gov. If you do not own or have access to a computer, call toll-free 1-888-697-6972.

Legislature Chairman Leemann noted weather alerts issued for Oswego County by the National Weather Service - Buffalo Forecast Office are passed on to NY Alert subscribers. The Oswego County E-911 Communications Center also uses a reverse notification system, the Hyper-Reach Broadcast Notification System. The Hyper-Reach system uses landline telephone numbers provided by the telephone companies that serve Oswego County. The service is also capable of calling wireless telephones, sending text messages, and communicating via TTY. People can register their telephone numbers by visiting the County E-911 Center's website, oswegocounty.com/911.

Legislature Chairman Leemann also urged residents to use caution and read all directions when using alternate heating sources such as kerosene heaters, wood and pellet stoves, and fireplaces. Have proper ventilation. And, in the event of a power outage, generators should only be operated outdoors.

"Have a professional check out your furnace, woodstove and chimney. Make certain they are in good working condition. And don't forget to replace the batteries in your smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors," he said. "It is also a good idea to make certain your snow blower is ready to go to work."

Chairman Leemann also recommended that motorists have their family and business vehicles checked over before the snow flies and temperatures plummet. "Have a mechanic check your battery, anti-freeze, wipers and thermostat," he said. "Make sure your tires will deliver the traction you'll need in the snow. And you will also want to make sure you have emergency supplies aboard such as a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, tire chains and booster cables.

"Most importantly, motorists should drive with extreme care during the winter," he continued. "When severe weather is forecast, stay at home unless you absolutely have to drive. If you must go out, plan your stops, clean the vehicle completely of snow and ice, and always match your speed to road conditions."

A primary concern during the winter months is the potential loss of heat, power, telephone service and a resulting shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day.

Legislature Chairman Leemann released the following list of items all residents and businesses should have available:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries.

  • Battery-powered portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio to receive emergency information. Have extra batteries. The radio will allow you to listen to weather forecasts, information, and other emergency broadcasts by local authorities.

  • Three days' supply of food. High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best. Also stock an emergency supply of bottled water one gallon per person per day.

  • A one-week supply of essential medicines and baby items.

  • First aid kit and supplies.

  • Extra blankets and sleeping bags.

  • Fire extinguisher and smoke detector. Test units regularly to ensure they are working properly.

"Winter is especially challenging for the elderly and physically handicapped," Legislature Chairman Leemann noted. "Take the time to check in on your neighbor and lend them a helping hand."

More information on emergency preparedness and winter weather tips is available from the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, 315-591-9150 or oswegocounty.com/emo.

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