Be Prepared & Ready for the Next Storm, Power Outage, Road Closure or Other Event

A sample winter preparedness kit, suggested by CERT, Bedford’s Community Emergency Response Team. Contents are described in the body of the article ~ Image CERT (c) 2021 all rights reserved ~ Click to view the full-sized image

 

 ~ Submitted by CERT, Bedford’s Community Emergency Response Team 

Are you ready for the next storm, power outage, road closure, or another event? The degree to which you are prepared can make the difference between an inconvenience and a disaster.

Bedford’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has coordinated with Town Public Safety officials in preparing some tips for you to ensure that you ARE ready! This article, which originally appeared in September 2020, has been updated as a reminder in time for the impending winter.

Be Ready
The Town of Bedford has many resources to help residents deal with emergencies of various types. In most cases, however, YOU, the resident, are the first line of defense against “unplanned events”. One of the best things you can do is EXPECT the UNEXPECTED and prepare for situations that may arise. Planning ahead and having some essential supplies on hand can help you to “weather the storm”, whatever form it may take.

In September 2020, designated as “Disaster Preparedness Month”, Police Chief Robert Bongiorno and Fire Chief David Grunes published some great suggestions for preparations that everyone can make. To quote Chief Grunes, “We want residents to be prepared for any type of emergency and be proactive in developing a plan that will keep their families and themselves safe … You don’t want to wait until disaster strikes to make a plan or gather supplies, so it is important to take time now to plan”. All residents are urged to review this article on a regular basis, and to follow the recommendations provided. The article may be found in the September 2, 2020 issue of the Bedford Citizen or by following this link, https://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2020/09/tips-for-national-emergency-preparedness-month-from-bedford-police-and-fire-chiefs/

Winter is Coming (with apologies to “Game of Thrones”!)

While many of the steps mentioned in the Chiefs’ article apply year-round, winter brings its own set of challenges and deserves some special preparation, particularly winter storms leading to extended power outages, loss of heat, and hazardous, if not downright impossible, travel resulting from icy, snowy, or blocked roads. Here are a few basic items, extracted from a longer list, which become particularly important in the winter:

  • Face masks and hand sanitizers to be safe while interacting with others during the pandemic
  • Warm clothes – think layers, and don’t forget hats and mittens – you lose a lot of heat through uncovered arms, legs, and head
  • Batteries for radios and other electronic devices, or maybe a hand-cranked radio
  • A battery bank and/or car charger for your cell phone(s) so you can stay in contact with the “outside world” for at least a few days
  • Blankets, sleeping bags, comforters, hand and toe warmers to stay warm if you have no heat
  • Flashlights – particularly as the days get shorter. Check to make sure they work! LED flashlights are preferred, as the batteries will last longer
  • Food and water for several days, which does not require refrigeration (don’t depend on that snowbank outside the back door…)

A sample basic “winter kit” includes:

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Portable/battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO + smoke) smoke detector
  • First aid kit
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • USB powerbank (with bonus solar recharge feature)
  • Portable inverter to power small 120VAC appliances from automotive-style cigarette lighter outlet
  • Hand-cranked radio/flashlight/USB charger
  • LED table lantern (USB rechargeable or batteries);
  • Flashlight with shelf-stable batteries
  • Reflective reusable/disposable emergency wrap “space blanket” (aluminized mylar film)
  • Chemical single-use hand warmers and foot warmers
  • LED headlights, with batteries, for each person

These are just a few of the most important items among many which will help you be ready for whatever winter may bring, but this is not a “one size fits all” issue – everyone is urged to consider what will YOU add to your winter emergency kit that isn’t pictured, because everyone has different needs.

Bedford’s CERT has recently published an updated list of recommendations for a more complete 72-hour kit. You will find the list at https://www.bedfordma.gov/health- department/pages/emergency-planning-bedford-citizen-corps. Please refer to this article for a comprehensive list of recommendations.

More information and recommendations are available from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) may be found by visiting its website, https://www.ready.gov/.

Fire Safety becomes more important in the winter with increased use of fireplaces, candles, and maybe a generator in the event of a power loss. The Bedford Fire Department has published some Fire Safety and Prevention Tips – check them out on the Department’s website, https://www.bedfordma.gov/fire/pages/fire-safety-and- prevention-tips.

This article is brought to you by Bedford CERT (the Community Emergency Response Team), a volunteer group that supports the Town of Bedford and its emergency response organizations in preventing and mitigating emergencies. Please visit our web page, https://www.bedfordma.gov/fire/pages/cert-community-emergency-response- team for more information about CERT in Bedford.

Watch for future CERT articles to help you to be ready for
any emergency that might come your way.


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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