Governor’s Office Statement on the Untethered JLENS Aerostat Over Pennsylvania
October 28, 2015
Updated: October 28, 2015, 4:26 PM
Posted: October 28, 2015, 2:19 PM
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Wolf’s administration continues to work with federal, state and local authorities to secure the J-LENS aerostat equipment. Federal authorities and local emergency management personnel have confirmed the aerostat is contained and no longer moving in Montour County.
Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and the Pennsylvania National Guard will continue to assist authorities to secure the area and the downed equipment. These agencies will continue to be on scene to secure the area and ask all residents to remain away from the scene.
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, PSP and the National Guard worked closely with local emergency management agencies from Schuylkill, Montour, Columbia and Lycoming Counties and numerous federal agencies to track the balloon throughout the afternoon.
The tether attached to the aircraft caused widespread power outages across Pennsylvania. PPL Electric reports that the damage appears most extensive in Columbia and Schuylkill counties. PEMA has been in contact with PPL and continues monitor power outages along the path of the balloon.
PEMA is continuing to provide equipment and logistical support to both local and federal agencies to bring the event to a close. There were approximately 30,000 residents without power at the peak of outages and approximately 15,000 remain without power at latest update from PPL.
The state Department of Health and Public Utility Commission (PUC) provide the following safety information and tips during power outages:
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Some people try to power their homes using generators, which can release carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is released from many types of equipment, builds up in closed spaces, and is poisonous to breathe. Never use a generator in your home or attached garage, and do not connect it directly to your home’s wiring, which can be dangerous for crews attempting to restore power in your area. Leave your home immediately and call 9-1-1 if your carbon monoxide detector sounds. Get medical help right away if you are dizzy, light headed or nauseous.
- Never use candles or any open flame to light your home when the power goes out, because they can cause fires. It is recommended that you use battery-operated flashlights.
- Prevent electrical injuries. Never touch a fallen power line or drive through standing water if power lines are in the water. Electrical wires on the ground may be “live” and could hurt or kill you, so stay at least 30 feet away. Avoid contact with overhead power lines while cleaning up after the storm and call the power company to report any fallen power lines. Be aware that downed lines that are de-energized can become re-energized.
- Make sure food is safe. If the electricity in your home has been off for long periods of time, throw away any food that can spoil, like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leftovers, etc. When in doubt, throw it out!
Natural gas customers should immediately leave a home or building if they smell gas inside. Once safely outside, call 9-1-1 or your gas company. Never use a cell phone or any electrical device inside a building if the odor of natural gas is present. Do not smoke or use lighters, and do not attempt to re-enter a building until it’s been cleared by emergency or utility officials. Never attempt to re-light a pilot light.
Contact information for all electric power companies in Pennsylvania – including hotlines for reporting downed power lines – is available from the PUC at http://www.puc.state.pa.us/consumer_info/electricity/electric_companies_suppliers.aspx.
Harrisburg, PA – The Governor’s Office released the following statement regarding the untethered JLENS aerostat over Pennsylvania:
“The Governor’s Office is in communication with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania State Police, the National Guard, and the appropriate authorities with the federal government. We are closely monitoring the situation, and we will work with the appropriate authorities to respond to any resource requests and assist in any way possible.”
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