Public safety message from emergency coordination group
The coordination group issued this statement on public safety and Storm Ophelia at 6pm this evening:
Following careful consideration by the National Emergency Coordination Group, the Department of Education and Skills has decided that all schools will remain closed tomorrow, Tuesday.
The NECG reiterated that there is a Red Level Warning currently in place for the entire country. The immediate storm will not abate over the south coast until 4-6pm and midnight for the north of the country.
This event is unprecedented with serious life threatening conditions and all unnecessary travel should be avoided while the storm is passing. Do not be outside during the passing of the storm.
The fatalities emphasise the dangers posed by the storm during this period.
Don’t travel during the height of the storm, and take due care when travelling post storm periods as there could be debris including fallen trees on the roads. Listen to local radio and national media broadcasts regarding the current weather situation. People need to be vigilant and take personal responsibility for themselves and their families.
High seas are predicted, with the potential for localised coastal flooding as a result of wave overtopping. There have been reports of people on piers, walkways etc near the sea. You are strongly advised to stay away from coastal areas.
Very strong winds with violent gusts are predicted making driving conditions hazardous, especially for the more vulnerable road users, eg cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and high-sided vehicles. Road users should pay particular attention to the risk posed by fallen trees and flying debris.
Members of the public are being asked to report any homeless case or individual that they have concerns about to their local authority, and the cases will be followed up by each local authority area.
Power outages are occurring around the country, with contingency planning activated by the ESB. Currently approximately 328,000 are without power. ESB Networks are on standby to start the repair work once the danger of the storm has passed. The ESB is highlighting the dangers from fallen live wires and is advising the public to stay away from these fallen cables. ESB Emergency Services can be contacted at 1850 372999.
Bus Éireann’s schools transport services are not operating in counties covered by red level warnings. Because of the duty of care owed to children and to avoid the risk arising from travelling, the Department of Education and Skills has instructed all schools to act on the department’s advice and remain closed. Crèches and montessori facilities should also remain closed.
People are asked to check in on isolated and vulnerable neighbours today during the severe weather conditions and again after the worst of the event has passed preferably by phone or text to avoid leaving your home.
People are advised to remove patio furniture, rubbish bins and any loose items from around buildings, which can be turned into missiles by the wind.
Farmers are advised to be conscious of the warnings in place and not to travel alone when checking on livestock, and avoid it during the peak of the storm.
People who have travelled to work today should stay inside until after the storm has passed, checking with transport providers to ensure they have a safe means of travelling home.
The public are again reminded to monitor Met Éireann forecasts for their area and to be aware of the weather conditions and to heed safety warnings. Met Éireann will be providing hourly updates on their website. Information is available across social media platforms and other traditional media sources.