Message from VEM (10/28/12)

From VEM Director Joe Flynn at 4:15 this afternoon (emphasis ours):

“I want to update everyone on what we expect from this upcoming storm and how we’re preparing.

Governor Shumlin declared a State of Emergency earlier today (Sunday).  What that does is it allows the state to request federal assets like chainsaw crews or high water vehicles from the National Guard.  Our friends at the Guard have spent the weekend sharpening their chainsaws so they will be ready to go should we need them.

Agency of Natural Resources chainsaw crews are also ready, as are their counterparts at the Agency of Transportation.  Trees will fall on roads, so be very careful in high winds.  Swiftwater rescue and search and rescue teams are on alert for a quick deployment, and the Red Cross is ready to open shelters if needed.

The National Weather Service says this is going to be a high wind event – us we should expect wind gusts from 60-80 miles per hour.  All areas of Vermont will see strong winds, but the most vulnerable spots are along the Green Mountains and the Northeast Kingdom.

Like I said, those winds will take down trees and topple power lines with them.  The good news is our state’s utilities have been proactive in securing extra line crews to speed up restoration efforts, and we appreciate their hard work now and throughout the storm.  Their dedicated crews will get to you as quickly as possible.

It’s of the highest importance that you avoid any power lines that may be downed during the storm.  Treat EVERY line as if it is live, and when clearing trees and debris, be certain that nothing is in contact with a power line.  The biggest risk for injury is electrocution so be very careful.

If you chose to use a generator, make sure it’s installed properly and that you run it outdoors.  If the Carbon Monoxide vents into your home you run a real risk of CO poisoning.  As a firefighter myself I can tell you firsthand how important it is to have working smoke and CO detectors in your home with fresh batteries, test them now.

While the National Weather Service doesn’t expect widespread flooding, there could still be some flooding in low-lying areas and where the rain is heaviest.  NWS says the southern half of the state is most likely to see some flooding, so keep an eye on local rivers and streams if it rains for an extended period.

This storm is not going to be another Irene; but we still want everyone to be ready for the worst, just as we always want you to be ready for any disaster.  Have extra food and water, batteries to go in your flashlights and battery powered radios, and other basic necessities you may need if you lose power or get cut off from the outside world.

And please, check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or who may be otherwise homebound and in need of assistance.  Together we’ll come through this as Vermonters do!

Thanks,

Joe Flynn, Vermont Emergency Management Director”

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