Maine Emergency Management Agency staff and partner agencies, including the Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency, are coordinating preparedness efforts in advance of a severe snowstorm expected to bring as much as a foot and a half of wet, heavy snow to some areas of the state.
MEMA hosted a conference call Tuesday, March 6 to discuss concerns about travel and possible power outages. MEMA has a staffing plan in place and is prepared to partially activate the State Emergency Operations Center.
“We urge citizens to travel only if necessary during the worst of the storm,” said MEMA Director Suzanne Krauss. “With temperatures hovering around freezing, road conditions are expected to be extremely slick.”
Lincoln County EMA is in contact with Central Maine Power Co., according to Director Casey Stevens. If the county courthouse closes tomorrow, the agency will operate a virtual emergency operations center from staff members’ homes and report to the county operations center if necessary.
Citizens are encouraged to stay tuned to alerts and warnings through media or by downloading the free FEMA app on their smartphone, which provides targeted preparedness information, alerts, and warnings for specific areas. Some coastal areas may see minor flooding due to high storm surge and splash-over. Those in flood-prone areas should take precautions to protect themselves and their property and never drive on flooded roadways.
Those using alternate heat and power sources are reminded to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Never run a generator in an enclosed area and be sure it is properly installed and at least 15 feet away from the home in a well-ventilated area.
Citizens should also plan for the possibility that they may have to shelter in place at home or an identified location and should have the following essential items:
• Three-day supply of nonperishable food that does not require cooking
• Three-day supply of water (one gallon of water per person, per day)
• Portable, battery-powered radio with extra batteries
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Cash (enough for at least three days’ worth of expenses)
• Telephone that works without electricity
• A safe way to heat food and water such as a camp stove, etc.
• Sleeping bags, extra blankets, and warm clothing to stay warm if you have no heat or electricity
• Three-day supply of medication (never let your supply run below three days’ worth)
• Items for infants: formula, diapers, etc.
• Food and water for pets
Those who must seek shelter elsewhere should have a plan in place to identify where they will go and how they will get there if they don’t have transportation. Those with accessibility challenges should contact family, neighbors, or emergency services to ensure their needs will be met.
If you must travel during the storm, please consider the following:
• Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area such as a garage to avoid carbon-monoxide poisoning
• Make sure tires are properly inflated and in good condition
• Check windshield wiper fluid
• Ensure the vehicle is clear of all ice and snow
• Never mix radial tires with other types of tires
• Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid the gas line freezing up or running out of gas and becoming stranded
• Bring a fully charged cellphone and program roadside assistance numbers
• If you become stranded in your vehicle, stay with the vehicle and tie a brightly-colored cloth to the antenna or use other distress signal
• Run the engine and heater just long enough to remove chill to conserve gas
Remember to update the emergency kits in your vehicles in case you become stranded and be sure to let someone know when and where you will be traveling and when you expect to arrive at your destination.
For additional preparedness, shelter, and safety information, visit maineprepares.com or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter. Shelter information is also available by calling 211 or contacting your local town office, fire department, or police department.