Are You Prepared For Emergencies?

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season has now concluded, but emergency preparation should always be on the radar according to the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center.

We are on the verge of winter-storm season, with the potential for snow that makes travel impossible or ice storms that could cause power outages.

Jeff Sands of DEMA told WGMD’s Jake Smith that just being informed and aware is an important step.

“That’s signing up to receive emergency alerts, monitoring the weather and just making sure you’re monitoring what your local officials are saying so that you know how to make good decisions. That’s really important, Sands said.

Sands also said that for the possibility of winter storms or other emergency situations, it’s important to discuss with the family a plan to evacuate and stay in touch.

“Thankfully, this hurricane season was not as active as 2020, and Sussex County fared well in not having any major issues with tropical weather,” Sussex County Emergency Operations Center Director Joseph Thomas said. “While concerns about hurricanes fade away for another year, Mother Nature’s threats don’t end. Nor’easters have historically been some of our biggest weather events, so the public should remain vigilant in the months ahead. Extreme cold, heavy rain and snow, howling winds, and tidal flooding are all some of the challenges winter brings to Sussex County. So the public needs to stay vigilant and be prepared, just as they do at the start of every new hurricane season.”

We have more emergency planning information at the Storm Center at wgmd.com

The Sussex County Emergency Operations Center offered additional advice:

Before the Storm

  • Spread an ice melting agent on walkways and driveways to keep surfaces free of ice; use sand to improve traction;
  • Have snow shovels and other equipment handy;
  • Winterize your vehicle:
  • Ensure antifreeze levels are sufficient to avoid freezing;
  • Ensure the heater and defroster work properly;
  • Check lights and flashing hazard lights for serviceability;
  • Pack a winterization kit that includes an ice scraper, de-icer for door locks, blankets, and sand or kitty litter to provide grip if your vehicle becomes stranded;
  • Create a Safety Profile for your household with the County’s free Smart911.com service to provide potentially life-saving information in advance.

During the Storm

  • Listen to television, radio, or NOAA Weather Radio for weather reports and emergency information. Also, visit the Sussex County EOC website and its social media channels, including Facebook at www.facebook.com/SussexCountyEOC and Twitter at www.twitter.com/SussexCtyDE_EOC, for up-to-date information;
  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids; avoid caffeine and alcohol;
  • Conserve fuel and power, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms;
  • Limit unnecessary travel and heed all advisories and warnings.

Dress for the Weather

  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, thin, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellant;
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves, as well as a hat;
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

For more winter weather information and helpful tips, please visit the Sussex County website at www.sussexcountyde.gov/emergency-preparedness and click on the ‘Other Hazards’ link on the left to download a useful guide about preparing for winter storms and other types of hazardous events.