calendar March 13, 2017 in Congregations, Disaster Response, News

Essential Tips to Weather the Storm

The major winter storm moving into the region Monday night into Tuesday, will bring not only several inches of heavy snow, but also strong winds, and therefore likely power outages. Winds could range from 30-40 miles per hour with gusts reaching higher velocities.

Snow total estimates as of 11 am on Monday range from 8″ to 12″ for the Greater Philadelphia region. The expected snow will be wet and heavy and could bring down tree limbs, power lines and damage property.

Our partners at Lutheran Disaster Response offer these tips for staying safe in this major storm.

Tips for Families:

chrisinphilly5448-PD-snowstreet-flickr• Stay home!
• If you must go out, dress in layers.
• When shoveling, make sure you lift with your legs, not with your back. Shovel small amounts at a time and take breaks.
• If shoveling is unsafe for you, check your municipal or local church websites for lists of people willing to shovel. Ask neighbors for help!
• Make sure cell phones are charged.
• Be sure you write down any phone numbers you don’t have memorized for important contacts. You will need to know these numbers should your mobile phone run out of power and you should need to borrow another’s.
• Only use flashlights for emergency lighting because candles can cause fires.
• Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.
• If you lose power, report outages to your power company immediately.
• Visit your power company’s website as they often show where power is out and give information on the current status of service recovery.
• Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid buildup of toxic fumes.
• Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat.
• If the power will be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location that has heat to keep warm, such as the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility.

Tips for Community Centers, Local Businesses, and Houses of Worship:

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• Reach out before, during and after the storm to those in your network who are most vulnerable to make sure they are safe. This may include those who are elderly, those with special medical needs, and those with limited English skills.
• To help those who lose power, consider serving as a community comfort center that allows individuals to warm up, as well as charge mobile phones and other essential devices. If you do open your doors to the community, make sure to let your municipality know and consider posting a visible sign to inform passersby.
• Contact your local fire marshal or police chief to see how your space may be used to support community efforts to serve those without power.
• If you are a code blue shelter or offer snow removal services, please send information on those services to so that people can be aware of what you offer.

For more information, contact Julia Menzo, Coordinator, Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA, at or call 215-430-1299.