Monday, October 29, 2012

Borough declares disaster emergency thanks to Hurricane Sandy

Elizabethtown Mayor Chuck Mummert declared a disaster emergency for the borough today as Hurrice Sandy bore down on Pennsylvania.

Mummert issued the declaration after borough officials consulted with the local Emergency Management Agency, the police department, the Elizabethtown Fire Department and the Elizabethtown Area Water Authority. A phone call with a recorded message from the Swift 911 system went out to borough residents.

"Most important we are strongly encouraging residents to stay home and shelter at home in the case of a power outage unless they are experiencing flooding or another life threatening circumstance.based on the potential for high winds, heavy rain and power outages projected with Hurricane Sandy," said one borough official.

Should emergency shelter be required, the American Red Cross shelter in Lancaster County is open at the Manheim Township Middle School. Its address is 150 School Road, Lancaster, PA 17601. For more information residents can call Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767.

In an effort to minimize flooding potential, Borough crews are out clearing storm grates and these efforts will continue as the storm progresses. Residents can assist in this process by monitoring storm grates in front of their properties and keeping them free of leaves and debris. If you live in flood-prone areas you may
want to move vehicles and other items likely to float away to higher ground if possible.

The Elizabethtown Area Water Authority has conducted its preparations for maintaining the public
water supply and has reported no issues. We appreciate your patience and cooperation during
this storm event and thank you in advance for your assistance.

2:22 p.m. Edited and updated with a few more details.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bracing for Hurricane Sandy

We are as prepared as we can be for Hurricane Sandy -- leaves cleared, patio furniture stowed, buckets of water filled in case we lose water. And now we got a phone call a short while ago from PPL with the dire warning to prepare for a possible week without power. 

Schools in Elizabethtown are closed tomorrow and Tuesday, and the school district's Facebook page says officials will monitor the situation and make a decision at Wednesday. Donegal School District is also closed. 

Gov. Corbett has already declared a state of emergency for Pennsylvania. reported that Corbett said at a news conference this afternoon that residents should "be prepared to stay in your homes for an extended period of time, a few days and possibly without power, without water."

I don't have much more to report right now, but as soon as I do, and assuming I have power, I'll update what I can as soon as possible.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

After last year's epic flooding from Tropical Storm Lee, we Elizabethtownians are no doubt a little skittish about the pending direct hit forcast for Hurricane Sandy.

Current projections for Hurricane Sandy indicate that Elizabethtown could see effects from high winds and heavy rain arriving by Monday.

The borough's maintenance crews spent today clearing out storm grates to prepare for the storm and control the potential for flooding. These efforts will continue next week as the storm progresses. In the past, many residents who have storm grates near their properties have monitored them and kept them free of debris. The borough is kindly asking that all of us do that again.

As for other precautions, the Weather Channel offers these tips on what to do before the storm. Don't forget to stock up on batteries and water. If you live in flood-prone areas you may want to move vehicles, wood piles, and other items likely to float away to higher ground if possible.

Please check in here at Chronicling Elizabethtown during the storm. Depending on the situation, especially if we have power, I'll provide updates as frequently as I get them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Elizabethtown Fire Department receives state recognition

Photo courtesy of Elizabethtown Fire Department
 As a resident of Elizabethtown, it is assuring to know that our first responders have our backs.

Last month, the Elizabethtown Fire Department received word from the state Fire Commissioner's office that it has a 75 percent participation rate in a voluntary state Participating Department Recognition program.

In a letter sent to Borough Council President Neil Ketchum, Fire Chief Jason Bock noted that Elizabethtown is one of four departments in Lancaster County to have a 75 percent rate (the others are Adamstown, Goodwill  in Washington Boro and Maytown/East Donegal). None of the county's 78 departments has a 100 percent rate.

The program recognizes fire departments with personnel who have been certified at one of the accredited levels of the Fire Commissioner's Certification Program. Bock said in his letter that the department has implemented increased training over the past two years to comply with national standards, which are not mandatory.

"I am proud to announce that 94% of our active firefighters have met or exceeded nationally recognized and sanctioned Professional Qualification standards!" Bock wrote.

He added that the certification will provide additional points during the review process for state grants, giving Elizabethtown increased opportunities when competing for grants from federal sources.

Moreover, for residents, "This certification provides a peace-of-mind knowing that the firefighters protecting your friends and family have been independently certified by a third party as having met or exceeded national firefighting standards. It can also have a positive affect on the community's Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating as well as other possible financial advantages."

The news about the fire department comes on the heels of news from the Elizabethtown Police Department. Last  month, two officers taking on new roles, and then a coordinated effort with state and federal agencies resulted in a large drug bust that netted 17 arrests.

I don't  know about you, but I am  grateful for the efforts that our emergency personnel put into keeping us as safe as possible.