Get Supplies Together Now in Anticipation of Snow and Ice
With any luck, the approaching winter season won't be as nasty as the one many Pennsylvanians endured last year. Mother Nature, though, isn't known for her predictability. With that in mind, here are some tips from www.ready.gov a Federal Emergency Management Agency preparedness campaign, to help you and your family get ready before the snow, ice, winds, and frigid temps come our way.
Before Winter and Storms Arrive
To prepare for a winter storm, ready.gov recommends the following:
Stock up on the following supplies:
- Rock salt or an alternative, environmentally safe product to melt ice on walkways.
- Sand or other antiskid materials to improve traction on sidewalks and driveways.
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
- Heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home, and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
Create a "family communication plan." Your family may not be together when disaster strikes so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together, and what you will do in case of an emergency. To learn more about developing a plan, go to www.ready.gov/family-communications.
Homeowners should consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio, which broadcasts alerts and warnings directly from the National Weather Service for all hazards. Many county emergency management organizations provide phone and text notifications, too. Check with them, and if they do, register your contact information. Also, download FEMA's Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings for a summary of notifications at www.ready.gov/prepare. Free smart phone apps, such as those available from FEMA and the American Red Cross, provide information about finding shelters, providing first aid, and seeking recovery assistance. Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supply kit in your vehicle. To learn more about what to include in this kit, visit www.ready.gov/kit-storage-locations.
Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with nonfrozen drinking water.
During a storm and extreme cold
Once a storm arrives or the temperatures dip to bone-chilling single digits, take the following steps:
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack, a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- Signs of frostbite: Frostbite occurs when the skin and body tissue just beneath it freezes. Symptoms include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face, and the tip of the nose.
- What to do if you suspect frostbite: Cover exposed skin but do not rub the affected area in an attempt to warm it up. Seek medical help immediately.
- Signs of hypothermia: This is dangerously low body temperature that could lead to uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and exhaustion.
- What to do if you suspect hypothermia: If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, take the person's temperature. If it is below 95 degrees, seek medical attention immediately. Get the victim to a warm location. Remove wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets or putting on dry clothing. Give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious.
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel during the day, don't travel alone, keep others informed of your schedule, and avoid back roads and shortcuts.
- If the pipes freeze in your house, remove any insulation and wrap the pipes in rags. Open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least 3 feet from flammable objects.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home and don't set the temperature any lower than 55 degrees.
After a storm
Keep these things in mind after the snow, ice, and cold temperatures move on:
- If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm there overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area.
- Bring personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries and medicine). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers and wear boots, mittens, and a hat.
- Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors if possible.
- If you choose to stay in your home, never run a generator indoors or in an attached garage. Place the generator outside in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home. Also, be sure to protect it from direct exposure to rain and snow.
Learn from every storm
When life returns to normal, consider the recent storm as a learning experience and do the following:
Restock your emergency supplies to be ready in case another storm hits.
Assess how well your supplies and family plan worked. What could you have done better?
West Vincent Township is now a drop off point for the Coventry Food Pantry. They are always in need of canned goods, peanut butter, jelly, cleaning supplies, personal supplies, paper products, laundry detergent, diapers and wipes. The box is in the lobby of the Township Building. Link
Chief: camera to assist police in their duties and add a level of protection
By Ginger Dunbar, Daily Local News
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
West Vincent Township police officers now have body cameras mounted to their uniforms to “assist them in their duties and add an additional level of protection.”
The initiative began at the start of October. West Vincent Police Chief Michael Swininger said it was decided last spring to “explore outfitting each police officer with a body camera” after the police department received a private donation that covered all the costs associated with the purchase.
After the law was enacted by Gov. Tom Corbett earlier this year allowing police officers to wear body cameras, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan reviewed body camera procedures. Swininger said his police department began to test and review different types of body cameras. Swininger said that “extensive” process” lasted all summer.
At the conclusion of the testing phase, the Axon camera from Taser International was selected.
“It is important to record the totality of an event, unlike phone camera videos recorded by citizens that usually capture only a small snippet of what transpired and may be misleading,” Swininger said in a news release.
“Repeatedly, police departments across America have witnessed first hand the benefits of in-car cameras,” Swininger said. “From recording field sobriety tests of impaired drivers to deadly assaults on police officers, the events were captured and recorded as they unfolded, providing invaluable evidence in the courtroom. In addition, audio and video recordings have exonerated officers falsely accused of misconduct, as well as held officers accountable for their actions.”
Body cameras add a new level of accountability and transparency, Swininger said, on “both sides of the badge.” He said the cameras will assist the officers in “their duties and add an additional level of protection.”
Swininger said he expects it will only be a matter a time before many more law enforcement agencies use body cameras.
Swininger noted that the Rialto California Police Department, which began using body cameras in 2012, has reported an 88 percent reduction in citizen complaints against police and a 60 percent reduction in use of force incidents.
“For the West Vincent Township police department, the addition of body cams is another way to build upon the confidence our residents have in their police force. In order to be effective, we must have their trust,” Swininger said. “What better way to enhance that trust and strengthen our integrity than to record the excellent police work the officers do on a daily basis? We regard the addition of body cameras as yet another way to enhance accountability, produce clear evidence, and keep our citizens safe.”
He said the body cameras will provide for the same level of accountability as in-car cameras, now applied to person-to-person contacts. With the advancements in technology, the cameras can safely be worn or mounted on police officers’ uniforms.
On Friday, October 3, 2014, the Owen J. Roberts Education Foundation presented West Vincent Township resident, Mr. Jason Owens, with the Community Service Award for 2013-2014. Mr. Owens, standing in the center of the picture, was presented the award at the fifty-yard line in Wildcat Stadium before the Owen J. Roberts and Pottsgrove football game. Mr. Owens is the owner of Patriot Buick GMC and donated a car to the school district for the driver education program, ‘Behind the Wheel’. In addition, last year he purchased a K9 for the North Coventry Police Department and assisted the East and West Vincent Police Departments with their annual Trout Fishing Rodeo held on French Creek Road.
Mr. Owens, congratulations! Thank you for your generosity and commitment to our community.