Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Maine Emergency Management Agency Plans for Winter Storm

Augusta, Maine - Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is monitoring the impending winter storm and planning for severe conditions. MEMA representatives were joined by the National Weather Service, the Department of Transportation, The Maine Turnpike Authority, State Police and electric and communications utilities for a storm-planning call this afternoon to plan for what is expected to be the most significant storm yet this winter season.

“Because it’s the first really big storm of the season, we want to remind people to take some time to plan ahead today,” said Pete Rogers, Deputy Director of Maine Emergency Management Agency. “We’ve spent much of the day reaching out to utilities and emergency services agencies to ensure everyone is as prepared as possible. “

National Weather Service representatives indicated that snowfall from Dover-Foxcroft north and in Western Maine could reach as much as a foot. Coastal areas will see smaller accumulations. Strong wind gusts are expected to be problematic as well, especially along the coast and could cause power outages. Utilities are staging crews in advance and making arrangements for mutual assistance.

Before the storm arrives, Mainers should take some steps to prepare today including:

Making a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together during a storm, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
Obtaining a NOAA Weather Radio which broadcasts alerts and warnings directly from the NWS for all hazards.
Subscribing to Emergency and Safety messages at MainePrepares.com.
Downloading FEMA’s Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings for a summary of notifications at: www.ready.gov/prepare. Free smart phone apps, such as those available from FEMA and the American Red Cross, provide information about finding shelters, providing first aid, and seeking assistance for recovery.
Bringing pets/companion animals inside during winter weather and moving other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
Homeowners should check to be sure they have sufficient heating fuel or wood and should add the following supplies to emergency kits:

Rock salt or other ice-melt material for walkways.
Sand to improve traction.
Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
Adequate clothing and blankets to keep warm.
The most severe conditions are expected late Thursday into Friday. Those who can avoid travel should do so. If you do have to drive, you should update the emergency kits in your vehicles with the items below and be sure to let someone know when and where you will be traveling and when you expect to arrive at your destination.

A shovel
Windshield scraper and small broom
Flashlight
Battery powered radio
Extra batteries
Water
Snack food
Matches
Extra hats, socks and mittens
First aid kit with pocket knife
Necessary medications
Blanket(s)
Tow chain or rope
Road salt and sand
Booster cables
Emergency flares
Fluorescent distress flag
Additional steps should be taken in advance to winterize your vehicle

Antifreeze levels - ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
Battery and ignition system - should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
Brakes - check for wear and fluid levels.
Exhaust system - check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
Fuel and air filters - replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
Heater and defroster - ensure they work properly.
Lights and flashing hazard lights - check for serviceability.
Oil - check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
Thermostat - ensure it works properly.
Windshield wiper equipment - repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
Install good winter tires - Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.

For additional preparedness and safety information, please visit MainePrepares.com. Shelter information will be available at http://211maine.org/ or by dialing 2-1-1.

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