EMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army on standby

LISBON – With temperatures expected to fall below zero tonight, some area residents have been concerned whether shelter will be available in the event of a power outage.

East Liverpool police reported Sunday receiving several phone calls from concerned residents, with calls also received Saturday from residents of a local apartment building when the boilers failed, asking where they might go to stay warm.

Emergency Management Agency Director Luke Newbold said Sunday that the agency is currently on standby, along with the Red Cross and Salvation Army, but that no shelters have been opened at this time. Newbold said residents are encouraged to contact family and friends for a place to stay in isolated incidents of power outages, but that if a large population ends up without power, local jurisdictions would contact the EMA, at which point shelters could be opened.

“We don’t have any shelters open right now because no one has reported any displaced families,” Newbold explained.

“Local jurisdictions and first responders know if there is a large populated amount of people without heat. They know their towns better than anybody, and sometimes they will open up warming stations,” Newbold said.

He related as examples that in the past Salem officials prepared the local Elks Lodge as a shelter and the city of East Liverpool’s health department had prepared the Nazarene Church as a shelter.

Although neither one was utilized, they were there and ready for residents, Newbold pointed out.

Residents who have no local resources such as family members or friends to assist in the event of a power outage at their home can contact their local fire departments to ask if help is available, and Newbold said those with special needs can call 911 if they don’t have the local fire department number.

Meanwhile, the EMA will be on stand-by, with Newbold saying, “We’re ready to respond if need be to help.”