Winter Weather Preparedness

This is the time of year when our region is exposed to winter weather advisories. Area residents are urged to take precautions in case of snow, ice, major storms, and blizzards. The many hazards include slick roads and walkways, downed trees and electrical wires, limited visibility, and protracted phone and power outages. The impact is especially treacherous for those who are already vulnerable.

Here are some things that our members need to know, to keep themselves and their communities safer this season.

Call-Out Protocols: Your unit's Director and Coordinator are briefed continually on the status of weather emergencies and the potential need for volunteers. As emphasized in our unit's Standard Operating Procedures, members must NEVER self-deploy!!!

  • If there is no indication that a call-out is warranted, MRC staff refrains from sending unnecessary communications to our busy volunteers.

  • If there's a chance that our unit will be asked to respond, we may send an e-mail to our entire distribution list, asking volunteers to reply with their 'standby' availability.
    • If the storm passes without incident, we send another message to say so.

    • If there IS a call-out, we schedule and activate members as appropriate throughout the deployment. In the past, we've had to fill shifts for all skill levels across five communities for an entire week!

    • If only a small number of members with discrete skills are needed, MRC leaders may contact only a few volunteers individually.

Be aware that MRC leaders interact regularly with their counterparts from multiple agencies. Our collective goal is to support efforts that provide the greatest good for the greatest number, occasionally from outside of our region. Each request for our member's services is always purely voluntary.

Personal Preparedness: Make sure that you and your loved ones will be safe by taking reasonable precautions. Our unit provides starter 72-hour kits for the public at-cost ($50), along with instructions on how people can make their own kits. We also encourage members to review winter storm safety and preparedness guidelines on MEMA's website: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/mema/emergencies/winter-storms/

Weather Information: For updated forecasts, see www.weather.gov/boston (National Weather Service Taunton) and www.weather.gov/albany (National Weather Service Albany). Massachusetts Alerts is a free app that is available for Android and iPhones. To learn more about this app and how to download it onto your smartphone, visit: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp

Power Outages: MEMA's real-time power outage viewer lets you stay informed about current power outages in your community and region, and across the state, including information from utility companies about restoration times: http://mema.mapsonline.net/public.html

Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps, 55 Main Street, Westford, MA 01886