Dozens spend day at warming center during planned power outage

Dealing with the Cold

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Over 7,000 people across our region were without power for hours on Saturday due to planned maintenance by National Grid, forcing many to take shelter in warming centers.

The outage only lasted five and half hours instead of eight, which is what National Grid customers had been told to expect.

Marlene Gerko was among three dozen neighbors who spent the day at the warming center set up at Lima Ambulance Base.

“Lima Ambulance knows that I’m on oxygen and a couple of them stop over occasionally to make sure I’m doing okay,” Gerko said.

Gerko said arrangements were made ahead of time to make sure she got to the warming center safely.

“They said they would be over at 7 o’clock this morning to pick me up and bring me here. They would have hot food and entertainment,” Gerko said.

Lima Ambulance Rescue Chief Meg Rose said having advanced notice from National Grid helped them get ready in advance of the outage.

“I definitely think that being prepared and have the time to get everything ready and have all the resources pulled together made things easier than doing it in a crisis,” Rose said.

Rose also said that past experiences handling other power outages made preparing the warming center smoother.

“A year ago we had a power outage that wasn’t planned, right around Christmas time and we did something similar to this but we didn’t have any time to get prepared for it. That was harder. We learned from that one things we could bring to this one. We learned from this one, what we’ll bring to the next one,” Rose said.

Warming centers were set up across Livingston, Ontario, and Monroe Counties.

Power was restored at 1 o’clock – Three and a half hours ahead of schedule. A silver lining for neighbors like Gerko who said she’ll always remember the kindness and care of her community.

“I’d like to say thank you to the Lima ambulance. They’ve been fantastic. Everyone has been so nice,” Gerko said.