By Tim Jimenez

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — The Chester County Emergency Operations Center was activated at noon Sunday, much earlier than usual for a storm like the one expected the Philadelphia area. Officials say February’s crippling power outages have them on high alert and not wanting to take any chances.

Chester County’s Deputy Director For Emergency Management Robert Kagel said they’re ready for whatever Mother Nature birngs this time. The storm is arriving just weeks after thousands of homes and businesses were left in the dark for days.

“We’re not expecting a large number of power outages,” said Kagel, “but we’re prepared just in case.”

That means coordinating with the utlities and locking down sites for warming centers and shelters.

“We’re poised and ready to open warming centers for residents to go just for a hot cup of coffee or charge their cell phones,” Kagel said. “We’ve worked with the Red Cross to identify shelter locations, should they become necessary.”

And they have their eye on salt supplies. Four municipalities are very low. West Chester Borough, Tredyffrin Township, East Bradford Township, and Coatesville will have a more targeted approach in treating the roads.

“We’re focused on the incline and decline segments of the roads,” said Kagel. “Stop signs and intersections, to treat those areas where folks are accelerating and decelerating to help keep those folks safe.”

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