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June 26, 2015

Power still out for thousands after Tuesday's storm

Utility companies working to resolve remaining outages

Storm outages
Sea Isle City Weather Anneliese Kuemmerle/for PhillyVoice

Storm clouds over the bay in Sea Isle City.

As the Delaware Valley continues to deal with the aftermath of Tuesday's summer storm, about 7,900 PECO customers are still without power in Southeastern Pennsylvania, according to the company's outage map.

Gallery: Massive storm rolls through Philadelphia and South Jersey

In Camden, meanwhile, the city's Freeholder Board announced that cooling centers will remain open to the public. The Camden County Office of Emergency Management and the Health Department opened the centers for residents to charge cell phones and medical devices, obtain water and have ready access to air conditioning.

“Our OEM and Health Department are continuing to execute a long-term plan to assist residents in the worst hit areas of the county. It is imperative to keep offering and expanding services while we wait for utility companies to restore power,” Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez said in a release.

A spokesperson from Atlantic City Electric said that it was down to about 15,700 customers without electricity by Friday night, but that full service is expected to be restored by the end of the weekend. As of Frida, approximately 300 PSE&G customers were without power, but the company expected to have power returned by Monday. 

The Office of Emergency Management will be delivering bottled water to all municipalities with opened cooling centers.

Some residents are being advised to inspect the food in their fridge and determine the safety of water for long-term outages. To assist them, the Camden County Health Department has provided tips and best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Keep Food Fresh:

“To ensure the public’s health, please assess the food you still have in your house if it is contained in the freezer or refrigerator,” Rodriguez said. “If the temperature of either appliance has dropped below 40 degrees food must be discarded. If there is a question about how long the food was exposed to above 40 degree temperatures discard the perishable.”

• If your power is out, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep in the cool air.

• Put a block of ice in your refrigerator. It will keep food cool longer. Wear heavy gloves when handling the ice.

• Even if it's partially thawed, you can still cook or refreeze frozen food as long as you can see ice crystals or if it's still 40°F (degrees Fahrenheit) or lower.

Throw Out Spoiled Food:

• It's in a can that’s open, damaged, or bulging.

• It has a strange smell, color, or texture.

• It needs to be refrigerated but has been warmer than 40°F (degrees Fahrenheit) for 2 hours or longer. Foods that need to be kept cold include meat, eggs, fish, poultry, and leftovers.

Water Safety

Ask local officials or listen to the news to find out whether you can drink tap water or use it for washing. If it’s not safe, use bottled water if you can. If you don’t have bottled water, there are some things you can do to kill germs in dirty water and make it safe to drink. For example:

• Bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute.

• Use household bleach. Add 1/8 teaspoon of new, unscented liquid bleach to one gallon of water. Stir well. Let the water sit for 30 minutes before you drink it.

• Use water-purifying tablets. Adding these to water make it safe to drink. Follow the product’s directions.

Feeding Your Baby

If you have a baby, protect her from germs in unsafe water. You can:

• Keep breastfeeding if that’s what you normally do.

• Use canned or premixed liquid formula.

• Use bottled water to make formula from a powder or concentrate.

• If you don’t have bottled water, use boiled water to make formula. Make sure the water has cooled before mixing it with formula and giving it to your baby.

• Only use treated (disinfected or purified) water to make formula if you don’t have access to bottled or boiled water.

The Office of Veteran Affairs building remained closed on Friday afternoon due to an ongoing power outage. The office is operating out of the Lakeland complex and can be reached at (856) 374-6145. Also, Berlin Park remains closed and should be reopening in the next week.