OCEAN CITY – Officials from Delmarva Power and area emergency services spoke last week about ways to prepare for the approaching hurricane season and highlighted some of the preventive measures they are taking to ensure public safety. June 1 marked the beginning of hurricane season, which runs until November 30. Meteorologists are predicting an above-normal hurricane season with up to 18 named storms, with up to ten possibly becoming hurricanes and three to six turning into major hurricanes.
The Emergency Service Partnership Program allows Delmarva Power, Red Cross, and the local government to share information to work as quickly as possible. Matthew Likovich, spokesman for Delmarva Power, stressed preparedness and partnership as two of the key components to deal with severe weather.
“Have a plan, know the evacuation routes, and work together, that’s the message we are trying to send people today,” said Joe Theobald, Ocean City emergency services director.
Likovich also urged residents to put an emergency kit together immediately. “Put the kit together now, don’t wait for the storm to start howling and the winds to start blowing to try and find all of this stuff,” he said.
Every kit should include a flashlight, battery-powered clock and radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food, a manual can opener, bottled water and a list of important phone numbers. Likovich recommends putting the kit in a cooler so it is easy to organize and transport if necessary.
“As people are busy making summer plans to enjoy the warm weather and beaches, preparing for a hurricane often ranks low on the list of priorities,” said Joe Thomas, Sussex County, Del. emergency operations director. “That is why it is important to prepare now instead of waiting for a storm to affect the area.”
Delmarva Power spends over $140 million each year to ensure infrastructure, equipment, and maintenance are up to par, according to Likovich. Most of the money — about $120 million — is spent to upgrade electric equipment, the rest is spent to make sure that Delmarva Power not only maintains what they have but that they continue to invest in the kind of new equipment that will support continued growth and demand.
Dealing with the potential for storms is a year-round concern at Delmarva Power where Likovich said they spend $9 million annually trimming trees in an attempt to prevent as many outages from fallen limbs as possible. Trees are a main cause of power outages from the storms.
The partnership with local government is important as it allows Delmarva Power to coordinate between emergency services agencies in different counties and even states.
“We need to work together to respond to these storms on a regional level, as well as a local level,” said Thomas. “The storms do not stop at the state line.”
Delmarva Power’s six-step restoration process places first priority on public safety and potentially life-threatening outages and then addresses outages according to market size, beginning with the largest markets.
In addition to preventative maintenance Delmarva Power drills throughout the year, running hypothetical scenarios in internal storm drills that can involve up to 350 employees at a time.
For more information on preparing for severe weather storms visit www.delmarva.com or call Delmarva Power Customer Care at 800-375-7117.