(from the city of Somerville)

Street and Infrastructure Repairs Have been Made on City Streets; Public Safety Building and Schools Undergoing Preventative Measures

Anticipating potential effects as Hurricane Earl passes close to the Massachusetts shoreline, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced today that the City of Somerville and Somerville public safety officials are taking necessary precautions against heavy rains and potential flooding throughout the City.  Mayor Curtatone also advised residents, at the request of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), to take preventative measures in your own home as the Boston area may be affected by tropical storm-force winds and heavy rains.  Preparations are already underway at the City’s Public Safety Building and in public school buildings, and several streets have undergone repairs and testing over the last several weeks to alleviate flooding.  The City will work with the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) for the duration of this storm to minimize affects in low-lying areas, including the use of two additional pumps at the Public Safety Building on Friday night.

“As we do with any large storm, the City is taking extra, necessary precautions to ensure that our residents are safe and that our infrastructure is stable.  Because we have had more significant rain events this summer, we will remain vigilant particularly in the most severely-affected areas, both with added personnel and with additional resources, where possible,” Mayor Curtatone said.  “Our public safety and DPW personnel have closely monitored weather forecasts and began preparing an emergency plan at the beginning of this week, and we are already implementing some of the identified preventative measures in anticipation of the storm on Friday evening.”

“In addition to necessary actions to be taken at the Public Safety Building, we have had additional personnel from the Water and Sewer Departments dispatched to some of the most heavily-affected areas to clean all sewers and catch basins, including Vernon Street, Cedar Street at Hall Street, Dane Ave., Somerville Ave., and Glen Street, among others,” said DPW Commissioner Stan Koty.  “We will continue to take any and all necessary actions to prevent and abate water damage, and will have personnel on stand-by for the duration of the storm.”

After severe flooding affected the Public Safety Building on July 10, 2010, extra safety measures will be taken at that location in advance of Hurricane Earl, including the placement of sand bags at all entrances on the Somerville Avenue side, removal of all personal and police vehicles from the parking lot by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, and the use of additional pumps and the City’s Vactor Truck to prevent water buildup.  Sand bags will also be placed in the vicinity of the Capuano Early Childhood Center, as that building also sustained water damage from the July 10th flash flooding.

“We will continue to monitor the path of Hurricane Earl as it approaches the New England region, however, emergency and DPW personnel will be on-call throughout Friday night into Saturday morning in the event that this storm does produce damaging winds and rainfall,” Mayor Curtatone said.  “I encourage all residents to be vigilant, and to consider the guidelines issued by MEMA to minimize potential damage to your property.”

The MEMA guidelines can be found on the City’s website, http://www.somervillema.gov/.

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MEMA OFFERS TIPS TO AS HURRICANE EARL APPROACHES

As Hurricane Earl approaches, The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) recommends a number of steps people can take to help minimize potential damage.

“Early planning and preparation can be the key to your safety,” states MEMA Acting Director Kurt Schwartz.  “It is important to use your time wisely and not wait until the last minute.”

Here are some examples of steps you should be taking:

  • Trim back trees and shrubbery around your home trimmed. Remove diseased or damaged tree limbs that could be blown down, causing damage, during a storm.
  • Clear clogged rain gutters. Hurricanes/tropical storms often bring torrential rain. Providing clear drainage will help prevent misdirected flooding.
  • Bring in outdoor items to bring inside such as lawn furniture, trash barrels, hanging plants, toys and awnings that can be broken or picked up by strong winds and used as a missile.
  • Make sure storage sheds, children’s playhouses or other outbuildings are securely anchored, either to a permanent foundation or with straps and ground anchors.
  • Elevate articles in your basement that could be damaged from even minor flooding.
  • Make temporary plywood covers to protect windows and sliding doors. Drill holes for screws or lag bolts in each cover and around each window. Note: Taping of windows does not prevent them from breaking.
  • Keep you vehicles fully fuelled.
  • Have a certain amount of cash available.  If power is lost, ATMs may not be working.
  • Make a record of your personal property.  Keep an itemized list of your furniture, clothing and valuables to assist adjusters in case of a claim. Back it up with photographs or video.
  • Protect your insurance policies and other important documents in a secure place like a safe deposit box or a watertight box. Many people back up important documents online.
  • Learn where gas pilots and water mains are located and how to safely shut off all utilities.
  • Lock doors and windows to ensure that they are closed tight to help protect against strong winds and rain.

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 Hurricane Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Follow MEMA updates on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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