State offers updates on winter safety, especially for rural areas

0
387

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – State officials Wednesday afternoon offered updates, advice and safety tips in advance of an ice storm that could impact a broad swatch across the state this evening into Thursday.

“Protecting our Kentucky families is the main mission of my administration. So earlier today, KYEM activated its State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 7 a.m. EST at Level 4 operations,” said Gov. Beshear. “We urge all Kentuckians to stay tuned to their local media for information on weather, visit snowky.ky.gov for snow and ice resources and goky.ky.gov to check road conditions,” Gov. Andy Beshear said during an afternoon pres conference where he was joined by Transportation Secretary and Vaccine Distribution Project Director Jim Gray and Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) Director Michael Dossett, who are leading efforts to keep Kentucky families safe and vaccine doses secure during the storm.

- Advertisement -

Icing is projected with this storm, which could cause downed power lines and power outages. If you experience a downed power line or power outage, please contact your local utility company.

If possible, prepare for the need to use an alternate source of heat. Be aware of the dangers of alternate heat sources and carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/co/guidelines.htm for more information.

“We know that road conditions are starting to worsen and rush hour is expected to be dangerous,” continued Beshear, who closed state offices at  2:30 p.m. EST. “State employees able to telecommute and essential employees designated for mandatory operations should continue to report to work as directed by agency management. Employees should direct questions regarding this closure to their management or human resources departments.

“Thank you to every worker out on the roads today keeping our people safe. We’ve gotten really good at taking care of each other – let’s make sure that’s not reserved for the pandemic, but during this storm and any other emergency.”

“The EOC will support our city and county emergency services partners in law enforcement, transportation, power and utilities. The center will be staffed continuously until this severe weather event ends,” said Dossett. “The heaviest precipitation will occur at 5 p.m. today through 3 a.m. Thursday morning. The greatest area of impact will be along the Blue Grass Parkway and Western Kentucky Parkway.

“Snow showers are expected on Saturday and another weather system is expected Monday into Tuesday. We’re asking that non-essential travel be postponed due to the extraordinarily dangerous driving conditions. Our Kentucky State Police and KYTC partners will be out in force to assist Kentuckians in need.

“This is the time to review your safety plan for an unexpected power outage and to check on your extended family and neighbors.”

Ahead of the statewide snow event, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) crews have been monitoring the weather conditions, preparing equipment, restocking supplies and treating roads.

Currently, crews are out across most of the state treating routes with salt mixed with calcium chloride and paying particular attention to areas prone to freezing, like bridges and overpasses. But Secretary Gray reminded Kentuckians road treatments may not be sufficient.

“When you’re dealing with extremely low temperatures, more salt is not the answer. It’s not as effective,” Gray said. “That’s why we really need Kentuckians to be good neighbors and avoid driving if you don’t have to. It’s better to be stranded at home instead of on a roadway. If you have to be out, be sure to reduce your speed, give crews space, have an emergency kit in your vehicle and don’t drive on shoulders.”

Vaccination Appointments Postponed
The Governor also reminded Kentuckians that vaccination appointments for Thursday, Feb. 11, at Kroger regional vaccine sites will be rescheduled for the following Thursday, Feb. 18, for the same time to ensure the safety of all staff, volunteers and those being vaccinated.

“Like I said yesterday, for all of you who have waited a really long time to get this appointment and now have to wait an extra week, I am really sorry. But I also don’t want to put you out on the roads with thick ice. It’s just not safe,” said Gov. Beshear. “Wear your mask, be careful over this next week and we will get you vaccinated.”

The Kroger Health sites are the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington and the Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green.

“Other vaccination sites across the state may reschedule appointments if needed. If you have an appointment scheduled for this afternoon, Thursday, or even Friday, keep a close eye on your email and voicemail box so you get any important notifications from your provider,” said Gov. Beshear.

Safe Vaccine Storage
“Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have cold temperature requirements for storage. Every site should have a plan for ensuring safe storage of their vaccine supply so that no doses are lost or wasted,” added Gov. Beshear. “In some cases, that means transferring the supply to another location for temporary storage. In others, sites have reliable back-up generators. Every site also has been notified of resources available to them for assistance.”

Earlier today, the Governor issued a news release about the State Emergency Operations Center being activated. To read the release, click here.