Chief Timothy Grenno and the Whitman Fire Department are recommending a series of precautions in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane in the coming weeks and months.
This week has been declared by Governor Charlie Baker as Hurricane Preparedness Week. The Atlantic Hurricane Season began on June 1 and will end on November 30. Historically, hurricanes and tropical storms in August and September have had the greatest impact on New England communities, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a near normal hurricane season this year, which could produce between nine and 15 storms. Between two and four of those storms are predicted to be major hurricanes.
“You don’t want to wait until a weather emergency is already underway before taking safety precautions,” Chief Grenno said. "Signing up for emergency notifications, establishing emergency plans and putting together an emergency kit are simple steps that can help protect your family in an emergency weather situation."
The Whitman Fire Department Facebook page, Whitman Police Department Facebook page and the Town of Whitman website will be updated regularly during the event of a hurricane or significant storm. All Town social media pages can be found at www.whitman-ma.gov/socialmedia . Residents can also sign up to receive emergency notifications at www.whitman-ma.gov/ready .
MEMA has several safety tips for residents in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm in our area:
- Stay informed by signing up for emergency alerts.
- Develop a family emergency plan by establishing meeting locations, creating an emergency contact plan, planning how to evacuate and learning how to shelter in place. Practice your plan with your entire family, and make sure the plan accounts for individuals who have access needs, seniors, children and pets.
- Acquaint yourself with the emergency plans at places where your family spends considerable time, such as your workplace or your children’s school.
- Those receiving medical treatment or home health services can work with a medical provider to learn how to maintain care in the event of a hurricane that requires evacuation.
- Create an emergency kit. Individuals with young children should pack necessities such as diapers, wipes, formula and baby food. Those with pets should pack a collar, leash, harness, crate, food, bowls, current photo, license and medical information.
- Maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and check their batteries.
- Contemplate purchasing a generator. If you do, be sure to familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s instructions to use it safely. NEVER run a generator indoors, in a garage or with the exhaust facing the home or home air intakes.
- Take photos or videos of your possessions to create a record for insurance purposes.
- Prepare your home if a storm is coming by securing outdoor objects, clearing rain gutters, covering windows with shutters or plywood (do not use tape), turn off propane tanks that aren’t being used, elevate items in your basement in case of flooding, check your sump pump, unplug sensitive electronic equipment, clear nearby catch basins, park vehicles in areas that are unlikely to flood, and remove any boats from the water.
- Do not go out during a hurricane or tropical storm, if possible.