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Bucks County shifts Hurricane Sandy response to recovery

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 30 2012 04:05:50 PM CDT

The Bucks County Commissioners and the Bucks County Emergency Management Agency discontinued 24/7 staffing of the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Ivyland as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to a release from the county's Office of Public Information.

For 35 hours, officials from the County Emergency Management team, PEMA, the American Red Cross, PECO, the National Guard, Information Technology joined Commissioners Robert G. Loughery, chairman, Charles H. Martin, Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW, Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler and Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick to coordinate information and response to Hurricane Sandy.

During the storm, the county 9-1-1 Emergency Communications department handled more than 4,000 9-1-1 calls (including more than 3,000 police calls), which was more than staff fielded during last summer’s Hurricane Irene.

County operations will resume as normal tomorrow, Wednesday, October 31. All personnel are required to report for their normal shift. The courthouse and all offices will be open during regular office hours.

PECO is reporting roughly 170,000 customers still without power throughout Bucks County. Crews are working to restore power as quickly as possible; however the overall damage to municipalities is making restoration a difficult process. They have 3000 employees and contractors currently working, with another 300 additional lineman expected tomorrow. PECO has stated that they hope to be 85% to 90% restored by Friday. PPL also is reporting over 20,000 without power in the Upper Bucks region.

“We want to remind residents to be careful, stay safe, and check on those without power,” stated Commissioner Robert Loughery. “We understand the frustrations of those without power, all three of us (commissioners) have also been without power. PECO is working as diligently as possible to rectify the situation as quickly as they can.”

There have been 34 municipalities that have signed Emergency Declarations, including, Bristol Borough, Falls Township, Northampton Township, Warminster Township, Tinicum Township and Quakertown Borough. Damage assessments at this point includes downed trees, power lines, some home damage, and of course debris. Road closures are in affect throughout the county.

You can like Bucks County Govt on Facebook and follow @BucksCountyGovt on Twitter for up-to-date developments, and keep checking www.buckscounty.org for more information. Emergency shelters are still available at Palisades (35 Church Hill Rd., Kitnersville), Council Rock North (62 Swamp Rd., Newtown) and they anticipate opening another shelter in Bristol Township later this evening. Call 215-299-4889 for more information.