March 4, 2018

Christopher Besse, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency


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MEMA Encourages Residents to Stay Safe

After March Coastal Storm


FRAMINGHAM – The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) urges residents to take precautions as they recover from the early March coastal storm that resulted in flooded homes, tree damage and significant power outages.

“Massachusetts has experienced a destructive storm that brought significant impacts across the state,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “MEMA encourages residents to stay safe as they cleanup storm damage, return to flooded homes and begin the recovery process.”

Stay Safe After A Storm

  • Stay away from downed utility wires. Always assume a downed power line is live. If you see a downed wire, call 9-1-1 to report it.
  • Call 2-1-1 to obtain shelter locations and other disaster information, and to be connected with non-profit social services providers.
  • Be a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with medical conditions, and those who may need additional assistance.

Power Outage Safety

If your power is out, follow our power outage safety tips:

  • Call your utility company to report power outages and get restoration information. Do not call 9-1-1 to report an outage or to ask about power restoration.
  • Make sure emergency generators or secondary heating systems are well ventilated.
  • Use generators and grills outside because their fumes contain carbon monoxide. Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working as it is a silent, odorless, killer. See moreGenerator Safety Tips.
  • Throw away any refrigerated food that was exposed to temperatures above 40 °F for more than two hours or has an unusual odor, color, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out! See more from When to Save and When to Throw Out.
  • Contact your doctor or pharmacy if you’re concerned that medications have spoiled.

Returning to A Home that was Flooded

  • If you have evacuated, return home only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings and away from affected areas or roads until authorities deem them safe
  • Never touch electrical equipment while you are wet or standing in water. Consider a qualified electrician to assist in assessing damage to electrical systems.
  • Clean and disinfect anything that got wet. Take precautions. Wear appropriate protective equipment such as gloves, safety glasses, and face masks.
    • Flooded floors and walls should be washed with a solution of two capfuls of household bleach for each gallon of water.
    • Carpeting, mattresses, and upholstered furniture should be disposed of or disinfected by a professional cleaner.
    • Remove and replace any drywall or other paneling that has been underwater. Use a moisture meter to make sure that wooden studs and framing are dry before replacing the drywall. Mold growth in hidden places is a significant health hazard.
  • Consider using professional cleaning and repair services before attempting to repair flood-damaged property.


Check Your Home for Damage

  • If you have concerns about private well contamination, check with your local public health officials for guidance.
  • Have damaged septic tanks or leaching systems repaired as soon as possible to reduce potential health hazards.
  • If you believe there is a gas leak, go outdoors immediately. Do not turn electrical switches or appliances on or off. If you turned off your gas, you must contact a licensed professional to turn it back on.
  • Take photos or videos to document any damage to your home or property, and contact your insurance company. For information and frequently asked questions about disaster insurance claims, review the Disaster Guide for Consumers or contact the Massachusetts Division of Insurance.
  • If you home requires construction to repair or rebuild, take steps to avoid scams and fraud.

About MEMA

MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA’s staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and with the private sector – individuals, families, non-profits and businesses – MEMA ensures the Commonwealth’s ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating threats and hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and strengthening our capacity to rebuild and recover. For additional information about MEMA and Emergency Preparedness, go

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