By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Region – Although it is still not 100 percent certain how Hurricane Sandy will affect New England, local and government officials are not taking any chances as they set plans in place to deal with what many are calling “Frankenstorm.”
Last year's two storms – Hurricane Irene in August and the October nor'saster – left much of the state dealing with prolonged power outages, downed trees and wires. Governor Deval Patrick and his administration are doing their best, they said, to ensure that does not happen again this time.
In a press conference earlier today, Patrick said each of the utility companies that service the state were required to submit storm management plans to his office.
Richard K. Sullivan, the secretary of the executive office of energy and environmental affairs, reiterated that point and added it was made “clear what is expected” from the utility companies.
A major change, he noted, was that each town and city in the commonwealth had been assigned a liaison from their respective utility company to facilitate smoother communications.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is advising residents throughout the commonwealth to be pro-active over the next few days.
MEMA offers a free “ping4alert!” app that you can download to your Smartphone to receive weather alerts and messages. Go to www.mass.gov/mema/mobileappp? for download instructions.
Updates will be also posted on the Twitter account, #MASandy. You may also dial “211” for assistance.
Locally, officials are also gearing up. Westborough will be advising residents via a new AM Emergency Radio Notification system (1610 AM). Social media (@WestboroPolice and @WestboroFD on Twitter) and FaceBook will be utilized as well.
The Westborough High School will be open as an emergency shelter if needed, officials said. Residents should call the Police Department (508-366-3060) or Fire Department (508-366-3040) first to check to see if it is open.
Officials are asking residents to refrain from “sightseeing” during the storm as it may hamper emergency crews responding to the storm.
In Shrewsbury residents may get updates from Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations (SELCO) on Twitter @SELCOnews. They may also text “Follow SELCOnews” to 40404 to receive the latest outage updates and storm information from SELCO.
Channel 26 will be utilized for a storm information bulletin board.
Other websites with important information include:
Mass. Department of Environment Protection – http://www.mass.gov/dep/floodcleanup.htm – tips on how to properly dispose of debris after the storm
The main MEMA website – ?http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/mema/.
National Fire Protection Association –
Generator safety tips –
National Grid – https://www1.nationalgridus.com/StormNotifications.
You may also register for broadcast text alerts by texting STORM to NGRID (64743)
National Weather Service (National Hurricane Center)? – www.nhc.noaa.gov
National Weather Service (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) – ?http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/#SANDY
National Weather Service forecast office for the Boston area – (You can click on this map to get specific town forecasts.) http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/box
Planning to help keep your pets safe – http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/pets-disaster.html