Did you know that we’re in the middle of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week? Perfect timing considering this storm that’s currently hitting the east coast! The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partnered up to designate the week of March 3-9th as National Weather Preparedness week and are urging Americans to Be A Force Of Nature.
There are three steps to being a force of nature; first you need to know your risk. Here in Massachusetts, our biggest risks are from snow and flooding. Storms can have a major impact on families across the state; from losing power, to damage caused by the wind and flooding, there are many risks that come along with these storms we have here in Massachusetts! Make sure you are checking the weather reports regularly as well, we all know how unpredictable the weather in New England can be. Click here to find out how you can protect your family and be better prepared for emergencies!
The next step to being a force of nature is pledging to take action! Sign the Pledge To Prepareand take the first step to making sure you and your family are prepared for severe weather in your area. This pledge includes filling out your family communications plan, putting together an emergency kit, and keeping important valuables and papers in a safe place. Another tip to keep in mind; make sure you have multiple ways to get weather alerts! You should make sure that your phone is able to receive wireless emergency alerts and sign up for alerts from different emergency management officials. You might also consider obtaining a battery-powered radio that you can listen to for updates if the power goes out. You can sign up for email and SMS alerts from the National Weather Service and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration here.
Finally, be an example! Once you know your risk, and have taken the pledge to Be a Force of Nature, be an example! This is the final step of being a force of nature and is arguably the most important. Share your knowledge on any and all social media sites and let your friends know what you’re doing to prepare for upcoming storms! Social media and today’s technology make it easier than ever to share our experiences and knowledge with friends and family, so spread the word!
Know your risk, take action, and be an example for friends and family! Another way to prepare for a storm? Give us a call at MassDrive and get a quote for homeowner’s and auto insurance! Extreme wind and flooding can cause major problems for you, your home, and your car so make sure you have the appropriate coverages in the event of any damage! Achieving a Weather-Ready Nation is a major goal, but it’s possible with help from all of you!
Although it is rare to experience a natural disaster here in Massachusetts, as we saw last summer with Hurricane Irene, anything is possible. That’s why it is more important than ever to make sure that your pet is protected and prepared for the next storm. We’ve found some great animal safety tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure that you and your furry friend are ready to weather the storm together.
Animals can often sense a storm on the horizon and may try to isolate themselves from it, before and during a storm make sure pets are inside to prevent them from running away.
Make sure that your pet has their collar on with tags firmly attached should you get separated.
Keep a “pet survival kit” on hand in case you have to quickly move from your house. It should include enough food for three days (in an air-tight container), enough water for three days, bowls, medicine, first aid supplies, leash, travel crate, kitty litter, litter box, paper towels, cleaning supplies, newspapers (for sanitary purposes), and familiar items such as toys, treats, and blankets which can be comforting during times of stress.
Keep important documents such as adoption papers, medical records, vaccination history and registration in a water-proof container.
If you have cats and dogs, separate them during a storm. Even if they typically get along, anxiety caused by the storm can cause pets to behave out of their typical character.
Have a picture of your pet on hand for identification purposes in case you get separated. If you are evacuating, write your evacuation destination down and attach it to your pet’s collar which will also be useful if your pet does get lost.
During a disaster situation, feed your pets canned or moist food so that they don’t have to drink as much water.
Plan ahead: if you know that you are going to have to evacuate, work with your local animal control department, animal shelter, or emergency management office to get tips and advice on where you can bring your pet. Unfortunately, not all evacuation shelters are equipped to take pets as well, however you can research pet-friendly hotels and motels in your area.
In the days following a natural disaster, make sure that you accompany your pet and leash it whenever it is outside. Familiar areas may have a different scent which can confuse your pet, and new dangers may be introduced to the area such as fallen power lines, or other animals that would not typically reside there.
The absolute most important piece of advice highlighted by FEMA is to take your pet with you if you have to evacuate! Pets are not likely to survive on their own and if by chance they do survive, often times they are lost and difficult to find. If you can not take your pet yourself, work something out with family, friends, or neighbors who may be able to help. Leaving a pet behind should be your absolute last resort and is not recommended at all.
Hurrican Earl categorized as a level 4 storm with 145 mph winds yesterday has significantly decreased in forces newly categorized at a level 1 storm. Forecasters following Earl noted it may even lessen to a tropical storm by the time it passes Nantucket. Hurricane Earl has wreaked less havoc than expected as it continues to lose power as it passed through outer coastal areas earlier today. Forcing a 25-minute delay in the New York City U.S. Open and post-poning a Red v White Sox game, residents were thankful damages were detrimental as they could have been.
After sideswiping North Carolina’s Outer Banks with wind speeds of 75mph Earl’s storm drove up the Eastern coast towards Massachusetts today. The storm was expected to stay further out from the coast in passing through the mid-Atlantic region but to near the coastlines of Cape Cod, Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard late tonight with high winds and rain.
Governor Deval Patrick sends a word of caution to residents living in areas the hurricane is expected to affect tonight:
“The public should continue to take precautions, in particular stay inside and off the roads during the storm… It’s Mother Nature and she changes her mind quickly.”
– Governor Patrick at news conference at the Massachusetts Emergency management Agency
President Obama had declared a state of emergency in 10 counties today according to FEMA. This declaration was intended to make federal funds available to save lives, protect property, and protect public health. In preparation of Hurrican Earl’s expected visit to Martha’s Vineyard FEMA’s sent a supply of bottled water, the town shelter’s been readied for potential visitors, and 50 – 60 tree workers and linemen have been stationed on the island to clear roads and repair power lines after the storm.
For tips on how to be hurricane prepared please visit the FEMA Ready America website here.
A major water main break in Weston this past Saturday has disrupted water supply to 38 Massachusetts communities and affected more than 2 million people since its burst. The 10-foot diameter pipe’s damage was discovered in an area where two pipes join carrying treated water from the Quabbin reservoir. Although the water main has been repaired today, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) expects the earliest regular service to be restored Wednesday May 5th.
Emergency water has been switched on however is not safe for consumption as the MWRA mandated a “boil-water” order in effect until further notice from Governor Patrick. The boiling water order requires water used for drinking, cooking, other food preparation involving water and brushing teeth. Governor Deval Patrick has administered water testing in more than 400 locations stating he would rather err on the side of caution before removing the boiling ban.
More than residential homes have been effected, restaurants and coffee shops alike have been stalled from the water main break. Unable to wash dishes or churn ice cubes restaurants have been forced to shut down until further notice.
Officials have yet to find the source of this disaster and have been left moderately stumped as the break occurred in a portion of the piping only seven years old and sealed with rubber gaskets. The investigations will continue to not only find the underlying cause of this break, but the risk of another catastrophic burst as well.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $6 million in Disaster Assistance Loans for the natural disaster survivors in Massachusetts. Frank Skaggs, director of the SBA Field Operations Center East, reported 311 disaster loans have been approved totaling $6,239,500. The Administration has been urging those those who experienced the severe storms and flooding this past March to return completed applications as soon as they possibly can. Those who wait longer to file an SPA application may find themselves with unnecessary delays in receiving their disaster assistance.
Disaster loans are available to homeowners up to $200,000 to repair or replace a damaged primary residence. Homeowners and renters are also eligible for loans to repair or replacement of personal property of up to $40,000. Business and non-profits may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business property and assets .
The SBA encourages survivors of the severe storms and flooding that began on March 12 to return their completed applications, even if they have not settled with their insurance company. Waiting to file an SBA application could cause unnecessary delays in receiving disaster assistance. Those who have weathered the storms have also been encouraged to register with FEMA by phone at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or via TTY 800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing disabilities. If the SBA is unable to approve a home loan you may be referred to FEMA for possible grant assistance.
President Barack Obama made an unprecedented stop in Framingham, Massachusetts yesterday. After a speech on health care reform in Portland and before two fundraising appearances in Boston, President Obama visited the Emergency Management Agency. At the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Obama met with Governor Deval Patrick to receive an update on the flooding caused by the El Nino weather pattern over the past few weeks and thank workers and officials for their dedication and efforts to combat the flood.
The President declared a federal disaster in Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties. As a result of the federal disaster the Internal Revenue Service has postponed the federal April 15th deadline for filing to May 11th.It is important to not however that the extension is only applies to those who own a business or reside in the declared federal disaster area. For further information about the specific tax relief being provided, visit the IRS web site here.
Business and homeowners may apply for assistance programs by contacting the FEMA Teleregistration numbers: 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 for those who are hearing- and speech-impaired. You may also apply for the assistance programs online at: http://www.fema.gov. For information about the Small Business Administration low interest loans and other aid contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, 800-877-8339 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. SBA may also be reached by sending an e-mail to email@example.com or visiting www.sba.gov.
Before contacting FEMA/ SBA pelase have on hand: your Social Security number, telephone number where you can be reached, address of damaged property, current mailing address, a brief description of disaster-related damages and losses as well as insurance information and direct deposit information to expedite the transfer of funds.
The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal aid will be available to those affected by the severe storms. This federal aid will supplement state and local recovery efforts.
The aid will provide federal funding to affected individuals in Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester counties.