The American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley, PPL Electric Utilities and Met-Ed are ready when Hurricane Sandy stirs the Lehigh Valley.
PPL spokesman Joe Nixon said the utility "is monitoring the weather reports and making preparations to deal with what forecasters are expecting to be a major storm."
"We will bring to bear all available resources to respond to whatever impact Hurricane Sandy has on Pennsylvania and be fully staffed 24/7 beginning Monday," Nixon said.
He stated that sister utilities in Kentucky will be ready to join PPL crews Sunday night and that utilities from Texas, Arkansas and Utah have been contacted for possible assistance.
"In addition, we’ve notified all of our contractors who normally assist in storm restoration to remain local and we're canceling any time off for our operations personnel next week," Nixon said.
He added that expanding staffing is significant in storm preparation.
"Since a year ago, on the heels of the October snowstorm, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee, PPL Electric Utilities has made many improvements to better respond to major storms -- in particular, upgrading customer service systems to ensure we can handle increased customer call volume and improving information available for customers," Nixon said.
He said customers should notify PPL if they lose service. Customers can report their outages to PPL by phone at 1-800-342-5775 or online at pplelectric.com, which also is formated for mobile devices.
According to a Met-Ed press release, more than 700 FirstEnergy linemen, hazard crews, and internal support resources -- in addition to 500-600 electrical contractors already working -- have been secured for storm recovery work throughout the FirstEnergy service territory.
Almost 1,000 tree contractors also are available, as needed. Ultimately, the press release added, personnel will be dispatched appropriately to the hardest-hit areas.
Med-Ed customer call centers will be fully staffed. Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the "Report Outage" link on www.firstenergycorp.com, which also is formated for mobile devices.
Meanwhile, the American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley communications officer, Janice Osborne, said the 13 chapters in Northeast Pennsylvania are "placing trained disaster workers, vehicles and supplies on alert in the 16-county region."
Osborne said residents are urged to put together an emergency kit that includes a three-day water supply for each person in the household, flashlights, a battery-operated radio and a first-aid kit.