As Hurricane Sandy bore down on the region, the city of Newton announced Sunday that trash, recycling, and yard waste collection will be delayed one day this week.
Mayor Setti Warren met Friday with key staff from several city departments to ensure that the appropriate steps are being taken in advance of the storm.
Interim police chief Howard Mintz said that the city is preparing for the worst case scenario and hoping for the best. He said that the police on Monday will be more fully staffed, particularly with more dispatchers to handle calls, and will have more vehicles available to respond to emergencies. He said the fire department will have extra ambulances and rescue units available as well.
A press release from the city lists several things residents should be aware of as the storm approaches:
- The city will monitor the storm throughout the weekend, and take preemptive measures to any issues that arise.
- Residents who have not already done so should sign up for our Emergency Call list by visiting www.newtonma.gov and clicking on the “Sign up for City Alerts” icon.
- The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has provided several tips for residents to prepare themselves for the hurricane. They include information on protecting your home, what items to stockpile, and maintaining communication in the event of a power outage. The items and many other useful tips can be found at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/mema/.
- The City of Newton website will be updates as developments occur. Please check www.newtonma.gov for news and updates.
- Residents should bring lawn furniture and other items that could potentially be blown in the wind indoors.
- During regular business hours, residents can contact the City of Newton at 617-796-1000. Our combined Police/Fire Dispatch may be reached 24/7 at 617-796-2100. Emergencies should be reported to 911.
- Power outages should be reported to NStar by calling 800-592-2000.
- Residents are strongly encouraged to ensure that catch basins on their street are clear of leaves and debris.
- Stay away from any downed wires, and do not touch any trees that downed wires are touching.
- If there is significant water in your basement, do not touch it. Contact the Fire Department immediately.
Mintz emphasized that residents need to have a plan, particularly in case an evacuation is necessary. While the city has predetermined shelters that it will open if a large-scale evacuation is needed, Mintz said people should look into going to a friend's or relative's home if the city decides a smaller evacuation is needed. Stocking up on food and water is important as well, he said.
"People need to take that responsibility," Mintz said, adding that people should also have a plan for their pets. He suggested looking into bringing pets to a veterinarian or kennel in another town if they cannot be taken with you.
Current weather reports from the Weather Channel indicate that Hurricane Sandy could hit New England and the Northeast as early as Sunday, and will continue into Monday and Tuesday. Governor Deval Patrick said the state will monitor storm response by utilities and may issue fines if utilities fail to adequately respond.
According to the press release, Warren met Friday with officials from the Police, Fire, Public Works, Public Buildings, Parks and Recreation, Newton Public Schools, Health and Human Services, and Senior Services departments, as well as representatives from Newton Wellesley Hospital, Cataldo Ambulance, the Newton Housing Authority, and the Board of Alderman.
Laura Franzini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.