LONDON — At 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Laurel County Judge Executive David Westerfield declared a state of emergency. With over 9,500 households in Laurel County without electricity, the Laurel County Emergency Operation’s Center (EOC) has opened up a warming center for citizens at West London Baptist Church.
The Church is located at 360 Parker Road and those seeking to visit the warming center are asked to call the Laurel Co. EOC (606) 862-7904 prior to arrival. The warming center will be open at 4 p.m. and remain open throughout the evening hours.
Laurel County Health Department Director Mark Hensley advised those at the warming center to wear a mask and practice social distancing, adhering to the CDC’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Drivers, please use caution on roadways. Major roadways are mostly cleared with some ice-covered spots. Secondary roadways are still hazardous to travel on. Emergency officials warn of downed power lines and to never go near them.
The London Fire Department advises those without power to use a safe alternative heat source and practice the following guidelines:
- A generator should only be used outside on stable ground and away from any windows and vents to prevent deadly fumes from entering the home through an opening. Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy- like structure.
- Plug appliances directly into a generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor- rated extension cord. Make sure the entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin.
- Refrigerators do not need to run 24 hours a day to keep food fresh. Monitor the internal temperature, which should be kept at 40 degrees or below.
- Close off rooms you do not need and use only safe alternative sources of heat, like wood and other fuel-burning stoves.
- Keep anything that can burn or that is flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Make sure you have working, properly installed smoke detectors throughout your home.
- Assume all downed wires are live. Avoid downed wires or any objects that are in contact with them. Call and notify the utility company or 911 of a downed power line immediately.
For emergencies, citizens are asked to call 911, and for non-emergencies call London Laurel Co. Dispatch at (606) 878-7000. For further inquiries on the warming center contact the Laurel Co. EOC at (606) 862-7904.