Heavy Rains, Melting Snow & Strong Winds Present Localized Flooding Threat and Possible Power Outages
FRAMINGHAM, MA – With flood watches and high wind warnings posted by the National Weather Service offices in Taunton, MA and Albany, NY the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
is reminding residents to be prepared for potential localized urban street flooding and possible power outages associated with very strong winds. While heavy rains are expected for most of eastern Massachusetts, accumulating snow in the northwest portions of the Commonwealth may also create slippery roads impacting travel in some areas.
“As the Commonwealth prepares for yet another late winter storm, with its strong winds and driving rains, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has issued a number of safety tips to assist
residents regarding the potential for flooding and power outages throughout the region” stated MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “Flooding continues to be the most common and costly type of emergency Massachusetts faces, annually.”
CONTINUALLY MONITOR THE MEDIA – Be aware of the storm’s impact on your community and neighborhood.
CHECK FLASHLIGHTS & PORTABLE RADIOS - Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries. A radio is an important source of weather and emergency information during a storm.
MONITOR STREAM AND URBAN STREET FLOODING – For those living in areas that are prone to localized flooding, closely watch small streams and low-lying areas for early flooding. Make sure street catch basins are cleared of debris.
ENSURE YOUR HOME IS READY – Minimize damage from basement flooding by elevating utilities, and moving materials that could be damaged by basement flooding to higher ground.
Check sump pumps to ensure they are functioning properly in the event of basement flooding.
DO NOT WALK THROUGH FLOWING WATER – Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Most of these drownings occur during flash floods. Flash flood waters move at very fast
speeds and can roll boulders, sweep away cars, tear out trees, destroy buildings, and obliterate bridges. Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off of your feet. If you must walk through a flooded area, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there and solid, even where the water is not flowing.
DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH A FLOODED AREA – More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Cars can be swept away in just 2 feet of moving water. Do not drive around road barriers. They are there for a reason. The road or bridge may be washed out or structurally unsound. If your car becomes trapped in floodwaters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.
LOOK BEFORE YOU STEP – After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
CLEAN EVERYTHING THAT GETS WET – Floodwaters have probably picked up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms and factories. Spoiled food and flooded medicines and cosmetics are
health hazards. When in doubt, throw them away.
AVOID POWER LINES AND ELECTRICAL WIRES – Electrocution is also a major killer in
floods. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to your utility company or local emergency manager. Always assume a downed wire is a live wire. Be extra cautious if you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm. Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by snowdrifts, trees or debris, and could be live. Never attempt to touch or moved downed lines. Keep children and pets away from them.
BE ALERT FOR GAS LEAKS – Do not turn on electric lights, but use a flashlight to inspect for damage. A spark from the light switch could cause an explosion or fire. Do not smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you are sure that the gas has been turned off and the area has been aired out.
CARBON MONOXIDE EXHAUST KILLS – Only use camping stoves, generators or other gasoline-powered machines outdoors and in accordance with manufacturers instructions. Fumes from charcoal are especially deadly, so never use indoors.
BE PREPARED FOR A ROUGH TIME – Recovering from a flood is a big job. It is rough on the body and the spirit. The aftereffects of this type of disaster on you and your family may last a long time. Consult a health professional on how to recognize and care for anxiety, stress and fatigue.
MEMA officials also remind residents who have experienced flood damage to take photographs as soon as possible. Those who have a flood insurance policy should contact the insurance company
or agent who wrote the policy as soon as possible in order to file a claim. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP
makes flood insurance available in communities that adopt and enforce ordinances to reduce flood damage.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters
in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide
information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man-made. For additional information about MEMA and preparedness information, go to www.mass.gov/mema.
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