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January 6, 2013
by Christine Yeres
If you haven’t set up your Con Ed account online, do it now. After last year’s Sandy trauma, the site is much improved. You’ll be able to report your outage and location, and updates on the repair effort. Make sure you’re covered locally too, by signing up for New Castle’s CodeRED notification service so that you can be contacted every-which-way—email, phone, cell phone, text—in an emergency. The New Castle Police Department’s Nixle alert system—with email and texts (but not phone) carry road closings, Amber Alerts, and crime reports—had around 4,000 subscribers by the end of Storm Sandy.
According to Police Chief Charles Ferry, the last Nixle went out to 4,354 email subscribers and 3,773 sms subscribers. Nixle messages also get posted to the PD Facebook page and the PD Twitter account as well as the Nixle web page.
“All of our alerts and social network sites can also be quickly located using our mobile site at m.ncpd.info,” said Ferry.
“Because of the number of subscribers on our Nixle account, the PD will continue to use Nixle in addition to Code Red,” Ferry explained. “Code Red will be the primary method of emergency alerts in any large scale emergency. Residents are encouraged to sign up for both services.”
Of the roughly 12,000 adults (6,000 households) in New Castle, says Town Clerk Jill Shapiro, CodeRED has 2,936 people registered for emergency notices and 2,633 signed up for “general” announcements, such as, “Taxes due!”
• The town’s CodeRED alerts
• The Police Department’s Nixle alerts
• And open a Con Ed online billing account—to report outages and for updates on repairs
If a major storm is anticipated in your area, take these simple precautions to ensure your readiness. Use this page as a checklist.
• Have a lights-out kit that is well stocked and handy. The kit should have a battery-operated radio or TV, several flashlights, and a supply of fresh batteries.
• Local radio stations will report weather and utility service conditions.
• Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings.
• If you have a well and a water pump, fill your bathtub and spare containers with water.
• Protect your major appliances and any electronically-sensitive equipment, such as computers.
• Fill your car’s gas tank.
If you experience an electric service problem:
• We need to know. You can use the “Report an Electric Service Problem” link located in the right-hand box of [the Con Ed Web page]. Or, you can call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).
• Take steps to prevent food spoilage. Click [the Con Ed Web page] for tips on handling food and water.
• Stay indoors. If you must go outside, stay away from downed and dangling lines. Treat all downed lines as if they are live and dangerous.
• If you use a portable generator, follow its important, life-saving instructions. [See the Con Ed Web page]
• Listen to your battery-operated radio on for updates on our restoration progress and safety tips.
• Use candles and storm lanterns carefully. Keep them out of drafts, away from flammable materials, and out of the reach of children.