Preparing for Winter Weather

MEMA Offers Tips to Help Keep Massachusetts Families Safe – A winter storm in New England can range from a moderate snowfall over a few hours to a chilling Nor’easter, bringing blizzard conditions with blinding wind-driven snow that lasts several days. People can become stranded in their automobiles or trapped at home, without utilities or other services. The aftermath of a winter storm can have an impact on a community or the entire region for days, weeks or even months. Storm effects, in New England, include large snow accumulation, extremely cold temperatures, heavy, wet snow or icing on trees and power lines, roof collapses, coastal flooding and beach erosion.

Winter storms are also deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to the actual storm. The major causes are automobile or other transportation accidents, exhaustion and heart attacks caused by overexertion, ‘freezing to death’ and asphyxiation from improper heating sources. House fires occur more frequently in the winter due to lack of proper safety precautions when using alternate heating sources, like unattended fires and space heaters. 

“As with most potential disasters, preparedness, monitoring the Media and common sense can minimize the danger to you and your family,” states Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Acting Director Kurt Schwartz. “That is why MEMA is sharing important winter safety information through the Media and the MEMA website over the next few weeks.”

Areas to be covered in this series will include the proper steps to take to prepare your family and home for the winter season, automobile and driving safety, ice safety, protecting your pets, responding to power outages, extreme temperatures, roof collapse and recovering from a winter storm.

Those who already have an All-Hazard Emergency Supply Kit, as MEMA continues to recommend, are ahead of the curve. However, it is important to check your kit, to ensure it is properly stocked with enough supplies to survive on your own for at least three to five days. Now is also the time to review for Family Communication Plan.