February 20, 2013 –
MAYETTA(Feb. 22) The Prairie Band Potawatomi government offices and the Health Center were closed last Thursday and Friday due to a significant snow fall.
Up to four inches an hour were reported inTopeka Thursday morning and almost 10 inches fell overall.
Chairman Steve Ortiz and Tribal Council ordered an administrative weather day both days.
Road & Bridge, Maintenance, Lands and Housing crews have been clearing roadways and other paths as best they can. In addition, the Potawatomi Fire Station and Tribal Police Department were also ready to go to transport people to emergency shelters at the Firekeepers Elder Center and Boys & Girls Club if the power went out for an extended period of time. Some of the Elder Center, Boys & Girls Club, and EPA staff plus many other employees of the Nation were also available to help, if needed.
In the last couple of years, back-up generators have been placed at various buildings on the reservation and the IT Department has also installed a back-up computer system to keep things going.
In the event of a power outage or telephone systems not operating, the PBPN emergency services crews has planned a Phase I and Phase II emergency plan. Please call 785-966-3024 at tribal dispatch if you are in distress.
As a precaution, residents are encouraged to check on their neighbors and make sure elders and the young are accounted for. Things to ask each other about are whether medications are filled, if there is water, food that won’t spoil, blankets and warm clothing available, and battery-powered radio and flashlights (and extra batteries) ready to go should the electricity go out.
For future closings please check www.pbpindiantribe.com under News and local media outlets including Topeka television stations WIBW-TV and KSNT-Kansas First News, and Topeka Capital-Journal (CJ Online).
Here are some preparation tips from the American Red Cross:
–Assemble emergency preparedness kit: Gather winter-specific gear that includes a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with extra blankets and extra warm clothing. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery. Additionally, make sure you have a first-aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage.
—Heed storm warnings: A winter storm watch means winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions via NOAA Weather radio, or local radio or television stations. A winter storm WARNING means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Individuals in a warning area should take precautions immediately.
— Prepare Your Home and Car: Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which will help to keep the fuel line from freezing. Make sure your home is properly insulated by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing.
For more information on winter storm preparedness, contact the nearest Red Cross by visiting http://www.redcross.org/ or calling 1-(800)-RED CROSS.