The York County commissioners approved a declaration of disaster emergency for York County on Thursday.

The declaration allows the county to immediately address conditions in the snowstorm, which means it can rent equipment without going through the normal bidding process, among other things.

The county's Emergency Operations Center was also activated Thursday to monitor conditions and provide support for local municipalities and response agencies, the county said.

Residents are advised to avoid unnecessary travel and heed snow emergencies issued by local municipalities.

The Commissioners, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Management and Area Agency on Aging, offered the following safety tips:

  • Ensure proper ventilation of furnaces, water heaters and other appliances that depend on external ventilation. Clear snow from exhaust pipes.
  • Clear snow from gas meters. Heavy snow can cover the regulator vent and block gas service.
  • Check on vulnerable neighbors, friends and relatives during and after the storm. Make sure they have an adequate supply of food, water and medicine.
  • Do not call 911 to report power outages unless the outage poses a threat to safety or property (contact numbers for electricity providers is listed below).
  • Clear fire hydrants near your home or business from snow so the hydrants are readily accessible to fire departments.
  • Clear snow off all exposed surfaces of vehicles before driving, including the top of the vehicle.
  • Take care not to overexert when shoveling snow. Push the snow as you shovel because it's easier on your back than lifting the snow. Make sure to stretch before and after snow removal. Take breaks as necessary.

Residents can visit www.ready-york.org for more preparedness information and also can follow the Office of Emergency Management on Facebook to get news and updates from the agency.