Thousands of homes remain without power in Herkimer County
HERKIMER — Thousands of homes remain without power in Herkimer County following Tuesday morning's snowstorm, and county officials and National Grid are working to alleviate the burden.
Herkimer County declared a state of emergency on Tuesday to aid with any potential requests from FEMA. Several area fire stations and churches were set up as warming stations for anyone without power in their homes.
The fire stations in Old Forge, Eagle Bay and Poland were set up as warming stations, along with teh Mohawk Reform Church, the Mid-Town Apartments Community Center in Herkimer and the Federated Church on East Main Street in West Winfield, according to county officials.
National Grid said they sent an expanded work force into the field in Herkimer County to start cleaning up downed power lines and restoring electricity throughout the area. Upwards of 2,800 National Grid workers are active in the restoration efforts.
“Our top priority is public safety as our field force restores service and cleans up the widespread tree and power line damage across the region,” said Matt Barnett, National Grid’s Vice President of New York Electric Operations.
“The weight of the snow, combined with strong winds, caused extensive tree and line damage. Blocked and closed roads are among some of the difficult conditions our crews are facing as they try to reach damaged infrastructure located off roadways and in remote or wooded areas.”
Detailed damage assessments are ongoing so that updated restoration times can be provided. According to National Grid, there is significant damage to feeder lines that feed substations in the county, causing the outages.
Officials said some outages in the hardest-hit and hardest-to-access areas could potentially extend beyond 48 hours.Crews will continue to work around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely as possible in the challenging conditions.
As of noon on Wednesday, the outages in Herkimer County were expected to be fixed by Friday night, according to National Grid estimates.
Customers are reminded to be aware of potential safety hazards such as damaged trees, particularly broken limbs that haven’t yet fallen to the ground. As always, all downed wires should be considered live and dangerous and should immediately be reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 911.
National Grid will distribute dry ice and bottled water at targeted locations hit hardest by the storm. Customers are asked to bring a cooler or paper grocery bags to transport dry ice to their homes, and company personnel will provide information about its proper handling.
The distribution will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
In Herkimer County, the dry ice and bottled water distribution will be at the Middleville Fire Department at 41 N. Main St., Middleville.
In Oneida County, the distribution will be at the Whitesboro FIre Department at 171 Oriskany Blvd., Whitesboro.
Electricity and generator safety tips:
• If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.
• Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity.
• Generators used to supply power during an outage must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. Before operating a generator, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker, located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could endanger our crews and your neighbors.
• Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642-4272. In a medical emergency, always dial 911.
• Keep working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in your home and be sure to charge all electronic devices before the storm.
• Please use caution when driving near emergency responders and crews restoring power.
• Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.
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