MAYNARD– Chief Anthony Stowers would like to remind residents to take the necessary precautions to prepare themselves for potentially serious storms, such as hurricanes, or any other emergencies or natural disasters that may arise.
September has been declared by Gov. Charlie Baker to be Emergency Preparedness Month. Residents are encouraged to use resources provided by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to prepare themselves, their family, their property and their community for an emergency or natural disaster.
“Preparing ahead of time for any type of severe weather or natural disaster will go a long way towards protecting you and your loved ones during those unpredictable times,” Chief Stowers said. “One of the best ways to do this is to create an emergency stockpile ahead of time so you have all the necessary food, water or other supplies you may need in these situations. We hope the following tips will be helpful, and want to remind you that the Maynard Police and Fire Departments will always be available to help during an emergency.”
Chief Stowers suggests that all residents follow tips for staying safe during severe weather conditions provided by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA):
- Do not go out during a hurricane or tropical storm, if possible.
- Tying down or otherwise securing all outdoor furniture due to high winds.
- Checking flashlights and portable radios to confirm they’re working.
- Fully charging your cell phone, laptop and any other devices before the storm.
- If you own a car, making sure its gas tank is at least half full in the event you need to travel. Purchase a car phone charger so that you can charge your device if you lose power at your home.
- Ensuring that you have an emergency kit that has basic medicine and bandages.
- Include disinfectants, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies that you may need in an emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Setting your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored). During an outage, minimize the number of times you open the refrigerator or freezer door.
- Being prepared by packing a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Don’t forget to include needed medications and any valuable personal belongings.
- Be a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with medical conditions and those who may need additional assistance.
MEMA recommends purchasing a generator to maintain electricity despite an outage. Generators should always be kept outside since they emit deadly carbon monoxide fumes that can quickly accumulate if indoors.
After a storm passes through the area, residents should remain cautious. Heavy rain and strong winds can cause a multitude of problems like power outages, fallen debris and floods that often block roads and emergency vehicles, prolonging damage.
- Call 9-1-1 to report emergencies, including downed power lines and gas leaks.
- Stay away from downed utility wires. Always assume a downed power line is live.
- If your power is out, follow MEMA’s power outage safety tips. Report power outages to your utility company. Do not call 9-1-1 to report an outage or to ask about power restoration.
Additionally, Chief Stowers would like to offer residents tips for responsibly stocking their emergency stockpile.
When creating a stockpile, residents are urged to buy items over a course of time, not in bulk ahead of an emergency. Abruptly stockpiling will limit the availability of necessary items in stores for others who may be in need.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) recommends the following for emergency preparedness stockpiles:
- A three-day supply of food and water stored in your home. Residents are encouraged to stock a week’s supply of food and water if there is enough space in the household. Residents should also choose food that doesn’t require refrigeration.
- One gallon of water per person/per day for at least three days.
- Residents should refrain from buying in bulk and opt to pick up one or two items for their stockpile every time they go to the store.
- Consider purchasing items from bulk “club” stores to help save money on supplies, or purchase items such as canned vegetables and batteries when they are on sale.
- Stockpiles should be stored in a cool, dark place that is easily accessible during an emergency.
- Supplies in your stockpile should be contained in a box or plastic bin that is tightly closed to protect its contents from humidity or pests.
- Residents should also include a first aid and emergency medical kit, personal items and important documents in their stockpile.
Residents should be mindful of not “borrowing” from their stockpile as it is for emergency use.
Additionally, the APHA recommends that residents check their emergency preparedness stockpile twice a year when residents change their clocks for daylight saving time. Residents should replace anything that is missing or expired at this time.