2/12/2013 - The State of Emergency remains in effect for the state during the recovery and cleanup from the weekend snowstorm, however local emergency operation and coordinating centers have shutdown, including Boston's Medical Intelligence Center. Health Centers across the Commonwealth fared relatively well with few reporting damages and losses other than lost revenue from closures over the weekend, and some pharmaceutical losses from power outages. Health Centers that have not reported are reminded to do so through this survey link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/damages022013.
Most school systems intend to resume school today or tomorrow, including Boston public schools. Parking bans are also slowly being lifted as the cleanup continues. Please note that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) reminds all municipal, business and private snow plow operators to safely move and dispose of snow in a manner that avoids any potential negative consequences for drinking water wells, waterways or wetlands. MassDEP's snow disposal guidelines are available on their website at http://www.mass.gov/dep/public/press/0213snow.htm.
2/8/2013 - MEMA. As of 12noon, Governor Deval Patrick declared a State of Emergency and issed a travel ban as of 4pm. This ban will not effect essential personnel of healthcare facilities, as long as proper identification is provided. The executive order and state of emergency declaration are available on MEMA's website at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/mema/.
2/7/2013 - MEMA. A significant snowstorm/blizzard is forecasted to impact Massachusetts beginning on Friday February 8th, lasting into Saturday February 9th. Snowfall across much of Massachusetts is expected to be approximately 1-2 feet with locally higher amounts. In addition to snowfall, strong damaging hurricane force winds (gusts up to 80 mph along the coast, up to 50 mph within the Rte 95 corridor, and up to 40 mph further inland) are expected which could lead to widespread power outages. In addition, moderate to major coastal flooding is anticipated along much of the coastline during the Friday evening and Saturday morning high tides. Travel may become nearly impossible with blowing/drifting snow and near zero visibility during the height of the storm (Friday afternoon into Saturday morning). Motorists are asked to stay off the roads if they can during the storm to allow snow plows to clear the roads.
Weather information can be obtained from the National Weather Service (NWS):
-For non-emergency assistance and information, call 2-1-1 or visit www.mass211.org
-Other preparedness tips
- Monitor the progress of the storm ? timing and areas of greatest impact can change.
- Listen to directions of Public Officials.
- Have a full tank of gas. Gas stations may be impacted by power loss.
- Prepare for extended power outages. Have emergency kit with flashlights, extra batteries, portable radio, bottled water, non-perishable food, first aid kit, etc.
- Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Have sufficient heating fuel. If using emergency emergency generator, understand how to run it safely, operating it outdoors away from any open window.
- If your water supply could be affected by a power outage, (well-water pump system), fill your bathtub and spare containers with water.
- Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings and minimize opening the door. Food can stay cold in a full refrigerator for up to 24 hours; a freezer for 48 hours.
- Restoration of power will not begin until the storm subsides and conditions are safe for utility workers.
- Be a good neighbor. Check on elderly relatives and neighbors.
- Treat any downed wire as a ‘live’ wire.
1/22/2013 - MEMA. MEMA Offers Precautions for Extreme Cold Weather. “With the forecast of extremely cold temperatures and severe wind chill over the next few days, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is presenting these cold weather safety tips,” stated MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz.
- Continue to be aware of the timing of extreme weather conditions by monitoring Media reports.
- Make sure you always have a well-stocked Winter Home Emergency Supply Kit that includes flashlights, portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food, a manual can opener extra heavy blankets.
- Minimize outside activities, particularly the elderly and very young. Also, consider your pets.
- Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens and sturdy waterproof boots, protecting your extremities. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Excessive exposure can lead to frostbite, which is damaging to body tissue that is frozen. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
- Hypothermia can occur in extreme cases. The warning signs are uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If the person’s temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek immediate medical care.
- Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity. Remember that unvented kerosene heaters are illegal in Massachusetts.
- Call Mass211 or check with your local Emergency Management Office to find the locations of any Warming Centers that may be open in your community.
- When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as your fireplace, wood stove, space heater or a generator, take the necessary safety precautions. Keep the heat sources 3-feet away from anything that can catch fire. Turn off space heaters when going to bed or leaving the house.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy; ensuring everyone knows how to use it properly. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
- If you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets.
- Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
- Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or relatives and friends who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.
- To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Allow a trickle of warm water to run from a faucet that is farthest from your water meter or one that has frozen in the past. This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze. Learn how to shut off your water if a pipe bursts.
- If pipes freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes or wrap them with towels soaked in hot water, starting where they are most exposed to the cold. A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution, also works well.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- Make sure your car is properly winterized. Keep the gas tank at least half-full. Carry a Winter Emergency Car Kit in the trunk including blankets, extra clothing, flashlight with spare batteries, a can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for drinking water), non-perishable foods, windshields scraper, shovel, sand, towrope and jumper cables.
- National Weather Service Forecast Office for Boston
- MEMA (info RE: emergency declarations, etc. is posted here)
- Sign up for "Alert Boston" to receive emergency info
- CDC - Emergency Preparedness and Response: Winter Weather Tips