Area utilities preparing for Irene's worst

MOUNT AIRY - August 25, 2011

"I was pulling out my candles and my flashlights, so I'm preparing," said Evandy Gibson.

Gibson has big trees and big concerns that Irene could whip up some wicked winds and knock out electricity in her West Mt. Airy neighborhood. She said her husband has already trimmed some backyard trees.

"It's cause for concern. I mean look at this tree right here, it's cause for concern," she told Action News.

PECO's Emergency Response Center in Plymouth Meeting is busy and staffed with extra employees who are watching Irene's track. Crews are stocking large trucks with transformers and other equipment.

"This is like the Super Bowl to our electric workers, they're going to want to go out there and have everything to restore service," said PECO's Cathy Engel Menendez.

The company has asked other utilities not located in our area to remain on standby.

"Based on the storm forecast this could be a multi-day effort for us. So really we are doing due diligence and planning now so we're ready to go," said Engel Menendez.

In New Jersey, Atlantic City Electric has brought on more staff and requested 750 employees from other utilities. PSEG says depending on how bad the storm is response times may be longer than usual.

PECO recommends customers stay away from downed wires, unplug appliances to prevent damage and get battery powered radios and television sets ready.

Gibson admits she has some other priorities.

"Well, let's say I have so much ice cream in my refrigerator that would be my main concern. We have no regular food, but we have ice cream!"

The American Red Cross has put together detailed information on how to prepare for a hurricane. CLICK HERE for that info from the Red Cross.

To report power outages:

PECO 1-800-841-4141

Atlantic City Electric 1-800-833-7476

PSE&G 1-800-436-PSEG

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