Barnstable County prepares for powerful ocean storm / Storm safety tips

Check this article for storm preparation notices from local agencies:

BARNSTABLE
– The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) held a conference call at 10 a.m. Wednesday, January 3, 2018, to discuss preparations for the approaching winter storm.

With the track of the storm moving further westward, a period of rain is expected, which will lessen the snow totals on the Cape and Islands.

The heaviest winds are predicted to occur between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Coastal flooding is a concern on the Bay side of Cape Cod during the 1 p.m. high tide on Thursday.

Electric utility Eversource will prestage tree, pole, and line crews on the Cape ahead of the storm.

The BCREPC advises the citizens of Barnstable County to be prepared for winter weather conditions and refrain from driving during the storm to enable highway crews to treat and clear the roads and utility crews to restore power as needed.

STATUS: The BCREPC Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) operated by the Barnstable County All Hazards Incident Management Team will be activated at 6 a.m. Thursday. A decision about the status of the Barnstable County Regional Shelter System will be made later on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.

For information about preparedness and the Regional Shelter System visit the Barnstable County REPC website at www.bcrepc.org. Follow the BCREPC on Twitter @bcrepc.

Additional information on preparedness is available from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) at www.mass.gov/mema or the FEMA website at www.ready.gov or call 2-1-1. For specific local information, citizens should contact the emergency management office in their town.

BOURNE – In accordance with the Town of Bourne Traffic Rules and Orders, and the issuance of a Blizzard Warning by the National Weather Service for our area, a SNOW EMERGENCY PARKING BAN is now in effect until discontinued by the Superintendent of the Department of Public Works. During this parking ban, all vehicles parked on a public way MUST BE REMOVED. Any vehicles impeding the snow removal operations during this snow emergency are subject to ticketing and towing at the owner’s expense. Thank-you for your cooperation during this storm and continue to monitor local weather forecasts.

State Fire Marshal offers safety tips for upcoming storm
STOW – State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey issued safety tips to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning (CO) as people struggle to survive the upcoming storm and face the bitter cold headed our way. “Many have already been struggling to keep warm and safely deal with frozen pipes this week. This upcoming storm may leave many without power. Keep a difficult situation from getting worse, stay safe as you try to cook and have light and heat as the temperatures dip tonight to dangerous levels.” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “We’ll all be struggling to keep warm, but it’s important to also keep safe,” he added.

Make Sure Smoke Alarms and CO Alarms are Working

“One of the simplest steps for safety you can take is to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are working. They will give you the earliest possible warning that something is wrong so you can escape safely,” said Fire Marshal Ostroskey. Hard-wired alarms will rely on the battery-backup during a power outage. If the power is out for an extended time, you may have to replace the back-up batteries.

Heating #1 Cause of CO in the Home

Carbon monoxide is called the invisible killer because you cannot see it, taste it or smell it. Breathing CO makes people feel nauseas, dizzy, headachy, and tired like having the flu. It poisons the body by removing oxygen in the blood stream, slowly suffocating victims. It makes it hard to think clearly and sleeping people will not wake up without an alarm. Heating appliances are the leading producers of carbon monoxide in the home and the risk increases when they are working harder.

Space Heater Safety

Be sure to plug space heaters directly into the wall. Most space heater fires are caused when extension cords are used, or when the electrical system is overtaxed. Shut them off when you go to bed or leave the house; don’t leave them running unattended. Remember that space heaters need space, and should be have 3-feet around them clear of anything that can catch fire. Make sure nothing can fall onto them, like blankets. Space heaters are not designed to replace central heating, so running constantly can cause a fire. Unvented kerosene heaters are illegal inside homes in Mass

Woodstove Safety

Many woodstoves will be working hard to keep up with this bitter cold. Don’t overload the stove; keep wood and combustibles 3-feet away. Dispose of ashes in a metal can with a lid outdoors, away from the house. A single ember can stay hot and undetected for days and a little breeze or contact with other trash can bring them roaring back to life.

Generator Safety

Generators are a leading source of CO poisoning. It’s important to know how to use them safely:

    • Place a generator outdoors facing away from doors, windows and vents. Never use a generator inside a house, basement or crawl space – not even inside a garage with the door open. When possible, place the generator 5-10 feet away from the house.
    • Plug appliances directly into the generator or use heavy-duty, outdoor rated extension cords, not to exceed the number of outlets on the generator. Make sure cords are free of cuts and tears and have all three prongs – especially the grounding pin.
    • Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open canopy or tent.
    • Dry your hands before touching the generator.
    • Let the generator cool before refueling. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

Cooking Safely

“If you’re using a barbecue grill to cook, do so outdoors, not inside the garage,” said Ostroskey, “Using a propane grill inside risks carbon monoxide poisoning and using any type of grill inside runs the risk of causing a fire.”

Candle Safety Tips

“It’s safer to use flashlights and battery-operated candles for light rather than traditional open flame ones,” said Ostroskey. He offered these candle safety tips:

    • Burn candles within a one-foot circle, free of anything that can burn.
    • Before you go out, blow it out; never leave candles burning unattended.
    • Always extinguish candles after use.
    • Use a non-combustible saucer or candleholder.
    • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.

The Department of Fire Services offers generator, carbon monoxide and candle safety tips on its website. Search on www.mass.gov/dfs.

Statement from Dennis Police:
DENNIS – The Dennis Department of Public Works will be out treating and clearing roadways from a storm that will impact the Cape during the day on Thursday, January 4, 2018. For this reason a parking ban will be in effect.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning, a coastal flood warning, and a high wind warning for our area. At this time the weather forecast calls for a rain and snow mix type of storm with up to 4 inches of snow in our area. Wind gusts could reach 70 miles per hour. The storm is expected to begin here on the Cape early Thursday morning and last into Thursday night.

A parking ban will begin on Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 8AM and last through Friday, January 5, 2018 at 8AM.Vehicles parked on roadways may be towed at the owner’s expense. This parking ban will allow the Dennis DPW to properly clear the roadways. Drivers should use extreme caution if you must be out on the roadways during the storm.

In addition, private contractors are reminded that it is a violation of Dennis Town Bylaws to push snow from private lots into the roads. Violation of this provision may result in a fine of $100.00 to $300.00.

Citizens encountering fallen trees or wires should call the Police Department using the 911 system – if an emergency – or dialing 508-394-1313. Do not go near downed lines – they may be charged. Police or fire personnel will respond to these calls and notify appropriate utilities.

Contact Eversource (Electric Company) to report any power outages at 1-800-592-2000. Citizens are encouraged to use the Eversource phone system to report power outages – the system automatically tracks these calls and provides information to Eversource as to how many people are out in a given area. The system will also give the caller a call back to provide information as to when the power is expected to be turned back on.

If you have a heating system with exterior vents on the side of your home please ensure to keep them clear of snow. If you live alone and go outside to clear a vent please let another family member or neighbor know you are going outside as a precautionary measure.

Also please check and ensure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

Use 911 for emergencies only, for all other calls you can dial 508-394-1313.

BCREPC update:
BARNSTABLE – The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) will NOT activate the Regional Emergency Shelter System prior to the onset of Winter Storm Grayson on Thursday, January 4, 2018. The BCREPC will monitor conditions throughout the day Thursday and into Friday to determine if Regional Emergency Shelter activation is required.

The Regional Emergency Shelter partners including the American Red Cross (ARC), the Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps (CCMRC), the Cape Cod Disaster Animal Response Team, the Lower Cape Animal Shelter Team (LCAST), and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) have placed their volunteers on standby and are ready to respond should the need arise. These volunteer agencies work in close collaboration with Barnstable County and police and fire departments across Cape Cod.

Eversource statement:
Based on current forecasts, we anticipate the coming storm to impact much of our Massachusetts service area with heavy snow and high winds throughout the day Thursday. Our lineworkers, contractors and tree crews are ready.

Provincetown Police statement:
PROVINCETOWN – The WINTER STORM EMERGENCY PARKING BAN may go into effect on short-notice. Our residents and visitors should consider free off-street parking and moving your vehicle into one of the town owned parking lots this morning.

EMERGENCY SNOW ROUTES

All snow plowing areas are clearly posted during the winter months with signs displaying the wording, “Emergency Snow Route, Tow Away Zone, No Parking in the Event of Snowfall”.

The following streets shall be designated as snow plowing areas: Alden Street, Atlantic Avenue, Brewster Street, Center Street, Commercial Street, Conant Street (upper & lower), upper Cottage Street, Cudworth Street, Johnson Street, Miller Hill Road, Montello Street (upper & lower), Nickerson Street (upper & lower), Pearl Street (upper & lower), Pleasant Street, Pricilla Alden, Prince Street, Ryder Street, upper Standish Street, and West Vine Street.

If you normally park on a designated (there are signs) emergency snow removal route, you should plan to move your car to a safe location in advance of any snow.

While we will not ticket or tow if while they sand, in order to properly plow snow these streets must be clear of cars. By parking on a snow removal route you are hindering our overall snow removal efforts, you also risk your vehicle being ticketed and towed away at your expense.

Also, just because the snow has stopped it does not mean the road is open. After this storm system leaves our area, we will experience some truly cold weather. About as cold as it ever gets in our area. These are wind chills in the -20 degree range. It may be necessary to keep the parking ban in effect to treat and maintain the roads before it all freezes in place.

Mashpee Police statement:
MASHPEE – The Town has issued a parking ban, effective Thursday January 4 2018 at 6 am until Friday January 5 2018 at 12 noon. Any vehicles in violation of the parking ban are subject to a parking violation and the vehicle may be towed at the owner’s expense. The Town appreciates your anticipated cooperation.

BCREPC update: (11:30 AM)
The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) held a conference call at 10 a.m. Thursday, January 4, 2018, for an update on the Storm Grayson weather forecast; a review of its current and potential effects; and an evaluation of the need for Barnstable County Regional Emergency Shelter system activation.

Weather Update: At 10 a.m. Cape Cod was primarily experiencing rain and heavy winds. The Outer Cape and Nantucket are experiencing hurricane-force gusts. Coastal flooding is a concern on the Bay side of Cape Cod during the afternoon high tide in the 12 noon to 1 p.m. timeframe from Sandwich to Dennis. Bitterly cold air will flow in behind the storm with a changeover from rain to snow and the creation of black-ice conditions on roadways.

Current and Potential Effects: Current power situation: Scattered power outages are occurring across Cape Cod. Coastal flooding: There is a serious potential for damage from coastal flooding for the north-facing shoreline of Cape Cod Bay from Sandwich to Dennis.

Sheltering: The BCREPC has asked that all Regional Emergency Shelter partners remain on a standby status. For information about preparedness and the Regional Shelter System visit the Barnstable County REPC website at www.bcrepc.org/sheltering

Public Safety: With the rapid drop in temperatures, road surfaces will become extremely slippery and travel is not advised. Citizens should ensure that they are prepared for power outages and bitterly cold temperatures.

MACC: The BCREPC Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) operated by the Barnstable County All Hazards Incident Management Team was operational as of 8 a.m. Thursday.



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