Summer heat wave advice from Met Ed

Summer is Heating Up!

Forecasters are predicting hot and humid conditions for our region at least through the 4th of July holiday. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-high 90’s with heat indices in the low 100’s.

Extreme heat stresses our crews as well as electric infrastructure. Met-Ed’s line shops will be staffed 24 hours/day and substation, engineering, dispatching and other support groups will increase staff as well.

Met-Ed has taken steps to insure our distribution and transmission system is prepared to meet the anticipated increase in customer electricity usage associated with summer’s first heat wave.

“Our comprehensive system inspections and maintenance programs help ensure system reliability when temperatures climb to 90 degrees and customers depend on us to stay comfortable," said Samuel Belcher, senior vice president of FirstEnergy and president of FirstEnergy Utilities, Met-Ed’s parent company. “From western Ohio to the New Jersey shore, our electric system is designed and maintained to operate safely and effectively even in extreme weather conditions.”

The inspections include using “thermovision” cameras to capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with electrical equipment in substations and on poles. By identifying hot spots, maintenance and repairs can be conducted prior to a power outage occurring. Helicopter patrols also are used to inspect transmission lines in advance of the high-demand summer season.

Staying Safe
Met-Ed employees are receiving briefings about what steps they can take to stay safe on the job when the heat index rises due to the hot and humid conditions. Proper hydration, enhanced situational awareness, adjusting work schedules and paying close attention to the condition of fellow employees on the job site are some of the steps that are taken to prevent heat exhaustion or other heat-related illnesses.

To learn more about coping with hot weather conditions, check out the advice provided by the American Red Cross at the link below:

Using Electricity Wisely
Met-Ed also offers some common-sense hot weather tips customers can follow to stay comfortable while using electricity wisely during this period of high demand:
• Set thermostats as high as comfort will allow. Every degree a customer can increase the temperature in their home will result in using about 3 percent less energy during the hottest summer days.

• During sunny weather, close drapes or blinds on windows facing the sun to prevent direct radiant heating from impacting interior temperatures.

• Use fans – moving air cools skin faster, resulting in greater comfort on hot days.

• Use a programmable thermostat to keep temperatures higher when no one is home, and to reduce the temperature before arrival back home.

• Only operate window air conditioners when someone is in the room.

• Keep refrigerators and freezers as full as possible. Frozen or cold items in the refrigerator help keep other items cool, reducing the amount of work the refrigerator has to do to maintain a lower temperature.

• Close rooms that aren't used regularly during the summer, and close the air conditioning vents in those rooms, as well.

• Avoid using heat-producing appliances during the hottest hours of the day. The less heat produced at home, the less work the air conditioner will do.

• Consider investing in ENERGY STAR® appliances or heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

• Check air conditioner and furnace fan filters. Clogged filters waste energy and money by forcing HVAC systems to work harder than necessary.

DEP Reminds Pool Owners to Handle Waste Water Responsibly

Harrisburg, PA – In an effort to help protect stream health and aquatic life, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would like to remind private and public pool owners, as well as pool management companies, how to properly close their swimming pools for the season.

Discharged pool water and waters containing chlorine or other chemicals can be detrimental to aquatic life if not handled responsibly. It is extremely important that these waters are handled correctly. Pool waters must not be discharged to any storm sewer or land in which a storm sewer is accessible. Runoff can cause fish kills and unsafe aquatic conditions.

“Pool owners and professional pool cleaners need to dispose of old water appropriately and conscientiously,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Most of all, we need to make sure the wastewater is going into the sanitary sewer, where it may be allowed – and not into our storm sewers where it could harm aquatic life.”

When draining a swimming pool this year, make sure to protect Pennsylvania by following these tips:

  • Pool water may be disposed of through the sanitary sewer system ONLY with municipal permission.
  • Never dispose of pool water through a storm sewer, which will discharge to a stream.
  • If lowering the water level of the pool, let it drain to a lawn to prevent it from running off into a storm sewer.
  • If a sanitary sewer system is not available, water may be used for irrigation if it does not run off the property or into a storm sewer.

The discharge of swimming pool water to any waters of the commonwealth without a permit is a violation of the Clean Streams Law. Property owners and pool companies that violate this law may be prosecuted and penalized for damages.


Your Address - More than just package delivery

 Your Address – More Than Just Package Delivery

Brian A. Gottschall, MPA CEM

Director, Berks County Department of Services

Most of us go on through our day not thinking much about the address of our home or business. We use it so frequently; it is as common to us as our last name.  It is on our checks, our bills, our identification, everywhere important to our daily lives.  Hopefully, this is all your address ever means to you.  However, approximately 200,000 times a year in Berks County, someone calls 9-1-1 to report an emergency.  Some of these calls are on roadways, in the wilderness, or in other locations where there is no physical building involved.  Most though, involve the need to send emergency services to a home or business.

In the 1990’s, there was a countywide effort to move from the old system of rural routes and boxes to unified structure addressing. That effort was highly successful, but oversights, changes in construction since that time, and other issues mean that there are still thousands of structures in Berks County that are not properly addressed in a way that meets the national standards set forth by the US Post Office and the National Emergency Numbers Association (9-1-1 professional standards body).  Every day, responders are sent to addresses that are difficult to find, which results in a tangible delay in the delivery of emergency services.  This is not a problem unique to Berks County.  In fact, Berks is well ahead of many other neighboring jurisdictions in this regard.  For decades, county 9-1-1 centers have “worked-around” these issues thanks to 9-1-1 call-takers and emergency responders with local knowledge, the skill of the information professionals manipulating data at the county level to make systems work, and sometimes just brute force when speaking with a 9-1-1 caller and getting the information needed.

However, we are on the cusp of the most significant change in the delivery of 9-1-1 since the implementation of e9-1-1 that permitted cellular locating technology. This nationwide initiative called NextGen9-1-1 is, of itself, not the subject of this information piece, but significant information can be found by searching the Web for the term.  NextGen9-1-1 is intended to improve efficiency, reduce costs, ensure the ability to summon help from all electronic devices regardless of the technology, assist 9-1-1 Centers in supporting neighbors experiencing technical issues or a surge in calls and speed the ability to locate callers.  The magic of this technology is highly dependent on the data available to match against the call, and this means that the data must be accurate, complete, and comport to national standards that allows it to match the other data in the system.  A lack of consistency, or inaccuracy in the data, will result in the call being potentially misrouted and, once getting to the right 9-1-1 Center, causing a further difficulty in sending the correct help.

The County is working closely with the local municipalities to ensure we are prepared to evolve our 9-1-1 delivery system. This is going to result in the need for some structures to be readdressed.  This is not a step taken lightly.  Everyone involved understands the impact that changing your address can have on your life.  Consider though, that an unclear address could cost you or your loved one your life.

The hope of this article is that an awareness of the intent and need, will help to assuage the concerns of those that might be impacted by these changes, and encourage them to work hand in hand with their local township/borough/city by embracing the change. Also, to ask that property owners consider whether an emergency responder coming to their property location could easily and quickly find the structure.

If the house is back a lane or common driveway, is there an indication at the public street to use the lane to find the structure? Is the building marked with numbers that are large enough to be visible from the street?  What about at night?

The intent of all of these efforts is not to create cost, difficulty, or inconvenience for the property owners/occupants. It is absolutely about doing everything that can reasonably be done to get help to someone having an emergency where seconds may be the difference between life and death.

Please work closely with your local government officials if you receive notice that your address has been identified as being problematic. Even better, if you are aware that your address is:

  • Out of order, or otherwise not in sequence with neighboring addresses;
  • Inclusive of letters (eg. 123 A Main Street);
  • Part of an area where odd numbers and even numbers are not separated on the two sides of the street;
  • Using a street name that does not match the street signs on your street;

don’t wait for the local government to call you. Reach out to them and help them to identify these potential problems and work with you to fix them.


From the Lower Alsace Township Fire Company

Is Your Home A Mystery To Find? Can it be found quickly In an emergency when every second counts especially at night?

Unfortunately, emergencies can, and do happen. When precious seconds can mean the difference between life and death, you want to be sure you've done everything you can to put the odds in your favor. For $20, the price of a delivered pizza, reflective address signs can help.

These signs are highly reflective and very visible. It will be easier for emergency services, visiting friends, family, and repair and delivery persons to find your home, especially at night. In addition, it looks great and is inexpensive.

Our reflective address markers offer these benefits:

  • Better visibility. Especially at night, when reflected by headlights and when it counts the most. Help 911, fire, and law enforcement find your home quickly.
  • Low cost and peace of mind. An inexpensive way to help ensure home safety and security.

Do I really need one of these address signs?    My house already has numbers on it.

To find out, drive or walk up and down the street in front of your house. Put yourself in the position of a rescuer that's racing to your house in a life or death situation. Can your address be seen clearly and easily from the street, at a distance, and especially at night? Statistics indicate that Emergency Services receive millions of phone calls per year for emergencies and accidents that occur at home. Rescue personnel will tell you that finding the home is the hardest part. Wasted minutes and seconds can mean all the difference. If you have numbers that can't be seen or are small, peeling, falling off, faded, etc. then the answer is YES, I need a new address sign.

Help yourself and your community by making sure your home can be found easily and quickly. At the very least, your pizza will always be hot!