By Tom Whittier, deputy director
Townsend Emergency Management
Whatever you may call our upcoming storm... snowpocalypse, snomageddon, Nemo or just your above average New England snowstorm, it's just one of the weather systems you need to be prepared for.
People need to understand, storms such as the one forecast for this weekend may temporarily cripple our infrastructure. Plow crews have difficulty keeping up when it snows 3 inches an hour and electric crews cannot typically work in bucket trucks at wind speeds greater than 30 mph. That is established by the manufacturer. With these thoughts in mind, a few moments of preparedness may make your passage through this a bit less painful.
Ensure you have atleast several days of non-perishable food and a non-electric can opener. Consider purchasing a package of paper plates and plastic utensils. Dishwashers don't run without electricity. Don't forget and prescriptions and personal hygiene items as well as the family pet too. Do not run out and stock up the freezer unless you have a generator or are certain you won't lose power. If you rely on a well, ensure an adequate supply of water for drinking as well as things like flushing the toilet. A bucket of water taken from your filled bathtub will flush your toilet just fine. Now is also a good time to lower the temperature as low as it will go in your freezer.
Make sure you have an adequate supply of batteries and flashlights. A portable radio is also handy. Make sure your laptops and cell phones are charged and if you don't have one, consider a charger that plugs into your car. A small amount of cash is also recommended as some stores may open without electricity but credit and debit cards may not work. Ensure your car is full of gas, as is your snowblower, generator and chainsaw if you have them. Bring in extra wood for the woodstove.
Remember to check on sick or elderly friends and relatives before, during and after the storm.
Try to avoid driving during the peak of the storm as well as immediately after to allow crews to clear streets. If you must drive, make you you have emergency supplies with you such as flashlights, tow strap, jumper cables, water and food along with blankets and extra clothing.
Please don't call 911 for non-emergency calls. Emergencies are fires, medical emergencies and police related emergencies. Post the number to Unitil or National Grid where you can readily get to it. You local police and fire dispatcher does not know when your power will come back on. After the storm remember to shovel out any hydrant on your property.
As New Englanders, we been through worse storms and we faired just fine. These tips are here to help you make it through the next one.