Saturday, August 27, 2011

US Congressman Jim McGovern: Hurricane Irene: Be Prepared

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August 26, 2011
US Congressman Jim McGovern, Representing the Massachusetts  Third Congressional District
Dear Friend,
This weekend, as we prepare in Massachusetts and all along the East Coast for Hurricane Irene to hit land, there are some excellent resources to ensure you are ready for whatever comes our way.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has declared a State of Emergency for the Commonwealth; more information is available at
Be sure to print this article and information from the following resources, in the event you cannot access it after the storm.

Track the Storm: Track Hurricane Irene on NOAA's website, or follow them on Facebook ( or Twitter (@usnoaagov) to get updates.
Hurricane Checklist: Review the American Red Cross' Hurricane Safety Checklist to prepare for the next several days.

Create an Emergency Kit:  Use this checklist to ensure you have all of the needed supplies at hand.

Stay informed: Keep up-to-date with local authorities by listening to your local broadcast media, or by visiting and
Mobile FEMA: FEMA's Mobile site is an excellent way to stay up-to-date if you are away from home or unable to connect to the internet through your computer.
Be prepared for power outages during and after the storm:
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has the following tips for dealing with a possible power outage:
  • Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries on hand.  A radio is an important source of critical weather and emergency information during a storm.
  • If your water supply could be affected by a power outage (a well-water pump system), fill your bathtub and spare containers with water.  Water in the bathtub should be used for sanitation purposes only, not as drinking water.  Pouring a pail of water from the tub directly into the bowl can flush a toilet.
  • Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored).  During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door unnecessarily.  Food can stay cold in a full refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and in a well-packed freezer for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-packed).
  • If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended outage.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines when using a generator.  Always use outdoors, away from windows and doors. Carbon Monoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly accumulate indoors. Never try to power your house by plugging the generator directly into household wiring, a practice known as "backfeeding." This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.
  • In order to protect against possible voltage irregularities that can occur when power is restored, you should unplug all sensitive electronic equipment, including TVs, computers, stereo, DVR, VCR, microwave oven, cordless telephone, answering machine and garage door opener. (Review the process for manually operating your electric garage door.)
  • Be extra cautious when you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm.  Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by trees or debris, and could be live.  Never attempt to touch or move downed lines, and keep children and pets away from them.  Do not touch anything power lines are touching, such as tree branches or fences.  Always assume a downed line is a live line.  Call your utility company to report any outage-related problem.

Be safe this weekend, and if you have neighbors who may need help getting prepared, please take a few minutes to check on them or help them with their efforts as well.

Congressman Jim McGovern

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Contact Information
Washington D.C. Office
438 Cannon HOB | Washington, DC 20515 | Phone: (202) 225-6101 | Fax: (202) 225-5759
District Offices:
34 Mechanic Street
Worcester, MA 01608
Phone: (508) 831-7356
Fax: (508) 754-0982
255 Main Street
Room 104
Marlborough, MA 01752
Phone: (508) 460-9292
Fax: (508) 460-6869
8 North Main Street
Suite 200
Attleboro, MA 02703
Phone: (508) 431-8025
Fax: (508) 431-8017
371 S. Main Street
Suite 102
Fall River, MA 02721
Phone: (508) 677-0140
Fax: (508) 677-0992

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